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Full text of "The Wapentake of Wirral; a history of the Royal Franchise of the Hundred and Hundred Court of Wirral in Cheshire, with an appendix containing a list of the officers and lords of the Hundred from the fourteenth century; a series of leases of the Hundred from 1352 to 1786; and the Crown Grant of the lordship of the Hundred in 1820"

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A  History  of  the  Royal  Franchise  of  the 

Hundred  and  Hundred  Court  of 

Wirral  in  Cheshire 


An  Appendix  containing  a  List  of  the  Officers  and  Lords 

of  the  Hundred  from  the  Fourteenth  Century ;  a 

Series  of  Leases  of  the  Hundred  from  1352 

to  1786;  and  the  Crown  Grant  of  the 

Lordship  of  the  Hundred  in  1820 





HENRY    YOUNG    &    SONS 



LITTLE  more  than  fifty  years  ago,  within  the  memory 
of  some  now  alive,  there  existed  in  Wirral  a  court  of 
so-called  justice  owned  by  a  private  individual  and 
upwards  of  a  thousand  years  old.  The  power  of  sum- 
moning jurors,  of  fining  offenders,  of  deciding  the  law, 
of  ordering  payment  of  debts,  of  levying  distresses,  has 
so  long  been  associated  by  the  present  generation  with 
courts  administered  by  officials  of  the  State,  that  it  is 
difficult  to  imagine  such  powers  in  the  hands  of  a 
private  citizen.  Yet  for  some  years  in  the  fifties  the 
inhabitants  of  Birkenhead,  Tranmere,  Bebington,  Neston, 
and  other  parts  of  Wirral  went  in  daily  fear  of  such  a 

The  only  attempt  at  an  account  of  the  Wapentake 
or  Hundred  Court  of  Wirral  is  contained  in  the  last 
chapter  of  Mrs.  Gamlin's  book  "  'Twixt  Mersey  and  Dee  " 
(Liverpool,  1897)  and  deals  only  with  the  last  forty  years 
of  the  Court's  existence.  The  author  apparently  obtained 
most  of  her  information  from  a  small  pamphlet  entitled 
"A  Free  Village  Library,  Bebington,"  published  in  1878 
for  Mr.  Joseph  Mayer,  F.S.A.,  containing  the  substance 

of  articles  which  had    appeared  in  the  Standard  news- 

v  a  2 


paper.  Mrs.  Gamlin's  story,  so  far  as  it  goes,  is  inter- 
esting, and  suggested  the  need  of  a  fuller  account,  but 
it  contains  many  inaccuracies. 

So  extraordinary  and  incredible  were  these  last  years 
of  the  Court  that  the  writer  of  Mr.  Mayer's  pamphlet 
classes  the  Wirral  Wapentake  with  the  "  Cheiro-therium, " 
traces  of  which  were  found  near  Bebington,  and  it  was 
the  performances  of  such  a  mysterious  and  powerful 
monster  as  he  made  it  out  to  be  that  aroused  my  interest 
and  led  me  to  make  the  investigations  the  results  of  which 
are  here  set  down. 

The  Hundred  Courts  of  the  County  Palatine  of  Chester 
have  been  neglected  by  the  writers  of  Cheshire  history. 
One  naturally  turns  first  to  the  pages  of  Ormerod  for 
information,  but  that  given  by  him  is  very  meagre.  The 
Court  of  Wirral  is  dismissed  with  the  bald  and  misleading 
statement  that  in  1816  it  was  farmed  under  the  Crown, 
but  it  was  no  longer  in  existence.  The  accounts  of  those 
of  Broxton,  Eddisbury,  Northwich,  and  Nantwich  are 
scarcely  any  fuller.  A  little  more  detail  is  given  of  those 
of  Macclesfield  and  Bucklow,  and  in  the  latter  case  dates 
and  references  to  two  Crown  leases  are  given.  In  Mor- 
timer's "History  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral,"  where  one 
would  expect  to  find  full  details,  very  little  more  in- 
formation is  given  as  to  the  Court  of  that  Hundred.  He 
prints  (with  many  errors)  a  copy  of  the  deed  under 
which  it  was  granted  in  1820  to  John  Williams,  but 
makes  no  attempt  to  carry  the  matter  further.  Sulley, 


in  his  "  Hundred  of  Wirral,"  makes  no  reference  to  the 
Court  at  all.  Other  writers  on  Cheshire  history  either 
ignore  the  Court  entirely,  or  just  mention  its  existence. 

It  will  be  seen,  however,  that  there  are  in  the  Cheshire 
Recognisance  Rolls  and  Ministers'  Accounts,  and  else- 
where in  the  Record  Office,  a  series  of  Leases  and 
records  of  the  officers  of  the  Hundred  Court  of  Wirral 
from  the  year  1352  down  to  the  year  1820.  It  is  true 
that  Ormerod  refers  to  a  few  of  the  entries  on  the  Recog- 
nisance Rolls,  but  chiefly  in  footnotes  and  merely  for  the 
purpose  of  recording  the  names  of  the  office-holders  for 
genealogical  purposes.  I  think  I  may  claim  to  be  the 
first  to  make  any  extensive  examination  of  the  Cheshire 
Ministers'  Accounts  for  historical  purposes.  About  250 
years  have  been  examined.  The  series  of  leases  have 
never  been  dealt  with  before,  which  is  remarkable  in 
view  of  the  fact  that  they  are  leases  of  the  "  Hundred 
of  Wirral,"  upon  which  two  special  works  have  been 

As  some  of  the  oldest  courts  of  justice  in  the  king- 
dom, the  Hundred  Courts  seem  to  deserve  fuller  treat- 
ment than  has  been  given  to  them,  and  I  have  here 
endeavoured  to  trace,  from  such  records  as  exist,  the 
history  of  one.  I  am  not  aware  that  the  devolution  of 
a  Hundred  franchise  has  ever  been  traced  in  detail  before, 
though  a  similar  chain  of  documents  might  perhaps  be 
unrolled  for  other  Hundreds.  But  very  few  Hundred 
Courts  were  at  all  active  after  the  end  of  the  eighteenth 

viii  PREFACE 

century,   and  it  is  more  than  doubtful  if  the  last  years 
of  the  Wapentake  of  Wirral  have  any  parallel. 

My  aim  in  writing  this  book  has  been,  in  the  first 
place,  to  make  it  an  accurate  record  of  facts ;  and 
though,  as  a  secondary  object,  I  have  tried  to  make  it 
as  readable  as  I  could,  from  the  very  nature  of  the  subject 
it  has  not  been  possible  to  avoid  some  dry  details  and  a 
certain  amount  of  legal  technicality.  At  the  risk  of 
making  the  narrative  a  little  jerky,  I  have  generally  dealt 
with  events  in  chronological  order. 

To  those  to  whom  the  ancient  history  of  so  prosaic 
an  institution  as  a  law  court  may  present  little  interest, 
a  suggestion  is  made.  It  is  that  they  read  Part  II.  of 
this  history  first.  If  then,  as  can  hardly  fail  to  be  the 
case,  after  reading  of  the  extraordinary  events,  some  of 
which  took  place  little  more  than  fifty  years  ago,  they  feel 
any  curiosity  as  to  the  origin  and  history  of  the  legal 
powers  so  grossly  abused,  the  early  part  of  this  book 
may,  I  hope,  enable  them  to  satisfy  it. 

One  word  as  to  the  title  of  this  book.  The  Hundreds 
of  Cheshire  were  never  called  Wapentakes,  and  that  word 
does  not  occur  in  any  records  of  the  Court  of  Wirral 
except  in  the  Act  of  Parliament  abolishing  it.  But  it  has 
been  commonly  used  to  describe  it,  and  as  the  existence 
of  two  works  on  the  "  Hundred  of  Wirral"  renders  that 
title  unavailable,  I  have  been  left  to  adopt  one  which, 
historically,  is  perhaps  inappropriate. 

My  thanks  are  due  to  Joseph  Hoult,   Esq.,  J.P.,  for 


kindly  allowing"  me  to  see  documents  and  deeds  relat- 
ing to  the  Wirral  Manor  House ;  to  Messrs.  Roberts 
and  Martyn  of  Chester  for  readily  allowing  access  to  the 
title-deeds  from  1820  to  the  present  date,  and  for  some 
interesting  information  ;  to  Mr.  E.  A.  Roberts,  the  occu- 
pant of  the  Manor  House,  for  particulars  of  the  Court- 
house and  for  leave  to  photograph  it ;  to  John  Bingham, 
Esq.,  for  the  photograph  ;  to  Messrs.  J.  M.  Quiggin  and 
Son  for  valuable  information  with  regard  to  the  events 
subsequent  to  Samuel  H.  Moreton's  death  ;  to  William 
Farrer,  Esq.,  A.  Ballard,  Esq.,  B.A.,  LL.B.,  E.  Stewart- 
Brown,  Esq.,  M.A.,  William  Cooper,  Esq.,  W.  Fer- 
gusson  Irvine,  Esq.,  F.S.A.,  Andrew  Commins,  Esq., 
LL.D.,  Robert  Gladstone,  Esq.,  Jun.,  B.C.L.,  M.A., 
Captain  F.  C.  Beckett,  Mr.  Thomas  Smith  of  Birkenhead, 
and  Mr.  Thomas  Field,  for  assistance  in  many  details  ; 
to  the  Board  of  Treasury  for  particulars  of  the  com- 
pensation paid  on  the  abolition  of  the  Hundred  Court ; 
to  the  Commissioners  of  Woods,  Forests,  and  Land 
Revenues  ;  and  to  many  others  who  have  kindly  replied 
to  inquiries.  The  standard  works  on  constitutional  and 
legal  history  have  been  laid  under  contribution,  whilst  the 
Calendar  of  the  Cheshire  Recognisance  Rolls  has  been 

The  collection  of  the  information  from  the  Record 
Office,  county  histories,  old  newspapers,  legal  proceed- 
ings, ancient  inhabitants,  and  many  other  sources  has  been 
no  slight  task.  Mr.  W.  K.  Boyd  has  taken  great  trouble 


and  interest  in  making  extracts  for  me  from  the  Cheshire 
Ministers'  Accounts.  Many  of  the  entries  are  obscure, 
but  I  have  done  my  best  to  get  at  their  meaning  and 
consulted  persons  of  greater  experience  than  myself.  As 
regards  the  last  years  of  the  Court's  existence,  I  found 
there  are  only  very  few  persons  living  who  have  any 
personal  recollection  of  the  facts  connected  with  its  aboli- 
tion, and  in  a  few  years  more  many  details  would  have 
been  lost  for  ever.  There  are  gaps  and  omissions  which 
I  should  like  to  have  avoided,  and  doubtless  errors  which 
will  be  pointed  out ;  but  I  venture  to  hope  they  are  not 
serious,  and  that  in  spite  of  them  the  facts  will  be  thought 
worth  recording. 




WIRRAL,  November  1907. 

M.  A.      =  Ministers'  Accounts  (Cheshire). 

C.  R.  R.  =  Cheshire  Recognisance  Rolls  (Welsh  Records). 

C.  P.  R.  =  Cheshire  Plea  Rolls  (Welsh  Records). 



PREFACE       v 

PART    I 





III.  THE  SERJEANTS  AND  BEDELLS  OF  THE  PEACE     .        .       17 


WIRRAL  FROM  1352 28 


THEIR  DUTIES,  1352-1402 39 

VI.  THE  HUNDRED  OF  WIRRAL,  1403-1509 52 




VIII.  THE  LORDSHIP  OF  JOHN  WILLIAMS,  1820-1829          .  .  84 

IX.  THE  LORDSHIP  OF  SAMUEL  WILLIAMS,  1829-1853    .  .  99 



(continued)       ...........     121 







WIRRAL        .        „        .        .        .        .        .        .  •     .        .        .161 


(1)  Farms  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral,  1352 175 

(2)  Lease  of  the  Bedelry  to  Henry  le  Bruyn  and  Richard  de  Prest- 

lond,  1391 177 

(3)  Lease  of  the  Bedelry  to  Thomas  de  Waley,  1397    .        .         .        .177 

(4)  Lease  of  the  Bedelry  to  John  de  Saynesbury  and  Hugo  de  Brum- 

burgh,  1403.        .        .        .    . 177 

(5)  Henry  VI.'s  Lease  to  Sir  Thomas  Stanley  and  others,  1445  .        .178 

(6)  Henry  VI  I.'s  Lease  to  Robert  Trafford,  1507 178 

(7)  Henry  VIII.'s  Lease  to  John  ap  Ithell  and  James  Bebynton,  1509  179 

(8)  Queen  Elizabeth's  Lease  to  Cuthbert  Venables,  1596     .        .         .  179 

(9)  Charles  I.'s  Lease  to  William  Trafford,  1628 181 

(10)  Charles  I  I.'s  Lease  to  John  Carter,  1662 185 

(i  I )  Charles  I  I.'s  Lease  to  Thomas  Dod,  1679 l%7 

(12)  Queen  Anne's  Lease  to  John  Scorer,  1704 190 

(13)  George  I  I.'s  Lease  to  John  Glegg,  1734 192 

(14)  George  I  I.'s  Lease  to  John  Glegg,  1759 195 

(15)  Assignment  of  the  Hundred  to  John  Glegg,  1768    .         .        .        .197 

(16)  George  1 1  I.'s  Lease  to  John  Glegg,  1786 198 

(17)  The  Crown  Grant  to  John  Williams,  1820 199 





PART    I 


Meaning  of  Hundred  and  Wapentake — The  Hundred  Franchise — Civil  and 
Criminal  jurisdiction — Forty  Shillings  limit — View  of  Frankpledge — Subjects 
of  Enquiry — The  Judgers — The  Affeerors — The  Suitors — The  Sheriff's  Turn. 

THE  Hundred  of  Wirral  is  one  of  the  seven  Hundreds 
of  Cheshire,  and  is  the  name  given  to  the  narrow  strip 
of  land  which  separates  the  Mersey  from  the  Dee.  The 
object  of  the  present  work  is  to  give  a  chronological 
account,  so  far  as  it  can  be  gathered  from  existing 
records,  of  the  Wapentake  or  Hundred  Court  of  Wirral. 
The  history  of  the  Hundred  itself  and  its  inhabitants 
forms  no  part  of  the  writer's  scheme,  and  for  it  reference 
must  be  made  to  other  works. 

After  a  brief  explanation  of  the  nature  of  a  Hundred 
Court,  a  few  scattered  references  to  that  of  Wirral  will 
be  used  to  throw  light  on  its  history  up  to  the  middle 
of  the  fourteenth  century,  when  the  records  of  Cheshire 
really  begin.  For  the  following  five  hundred  years  it 


will  be  possible  to  trace,  almost  without  a  break,  the 
many  hands  through  which  this  Law  Court  passed,  and 
to  follow  it,  through  gradual  decay  from  natural  causes, 
to  a  final  spasm  of  scandalous  activity,  leading  to  its 
ultimate  extinction  in  our  own  times. 

Before  embarking,  therefore,  upon  the  details  of  the 
history  of  the  Court  of  Wirral,  a  short  account  of  the 
nature  and  jurisdiction  of  a  Wapentake  or  Hundred 
Court  will  first  be  given.  A  scientific  or  critical  exami- 
nation will  not  be  attempted,  but  only  sufficient  will 
be  set  down  to  enable  the  reader  to  appreciate  what 
is  subsequently  related. 

All  our  Courts  of  justice  doubtless  had  their  origin 
in  the  natural  instinct  of  men  to  meet  together  for  the 
discussion  of  their  affairs,  for  their  mutual  defence,  and 
for  the  settlement  of  their  disputes.  The  development 
of  such  meetings  into  organised  and  periodical  Folk- 
moots,  and  their  subdivisions  into  village  meetings, 
tribal  meetings,  and  national  assemblies,  each  under  its 
recognised  leader,  have  been  exhaustively  dealt  with  by 
many  writers  ;  and  it  is  sufficient  to  say,  with  regard 
to  pre-Anglo-Saxon  times,  that  the  Hundred  Courts 
(to  take  the  subdivision  with  which  we  are  here  con- 
cerned), undoubtedly  originated  in  primitive  meetings, 
generally  in  the  open  air,  of  bodies  of  persons  having 
community  of  interests  by  reason  of  local  residence. 

The  origin  of  Hundreds  and  Wapentakes  is  mainly 
a  matter  of  speculation  upon  which  a  great  deal  has 


already  been  written,  and  no  attempt  will  here  be  made  to 
discuss  it.  The  division  of  England  into  Hundreds  per- 
haps dates  from  the  seventh  or  eighth  century,  and  both 
Hundreds  and  Wapentakes1  are  mentioned  in  the  laws  of 
Edgar  (A.D.  959-975),  by  which  time  the  term  "  hundred  " 
had  lost  all  numerical  significance.  For  present  pur- 
poses "  hundreds"  and  "  wapentakes"  may  be  treated 
as  synonymous,  and  meaning  territorial  divisions  of  a 
shire.  A  shire  was  divided  into  so  many  hundreds  or 
wapentakes,  each  of  the  latter  comprising  so  many 
vills  or  townships. 

In  Anglo-Saxon  times  the  two  principal  local  courts 
of  justice  in  the  shire  were  a  Hundred  Court  for  each 
Hundred  or  Wapentake,  and  the  Shire  Court  for  the 
whole  county.  The  profits  of  jurisdiction  in  the  former 
(with  which  alone  we  have  to  deal)  were  a  Royal  per- 
quisite or  franchise  and  belonged  to  the  King,  but 
frequently  were  granted  to  individuals  or  churches. 
The  possession  or  Lordship  of  a  Hundred  did  not  imply 
any  rights  of  property  in  the  land  within  the  Hundred, 
but  only  a  liberty  or  franchise  to  hold  the  Hundred 
Court  and  to  exercise  certain  rights  and  privileges  in 
connection  with  it.  The  periodical  gatherings  together 
of  the  men  of  the  Hundred  for  judicial  and  military 
purposes  became  so  identified  with  the  district  as  to 
be  called  "the  Hundred,"  or  "the  Wapentake,"  and  so 

1  Wapentake  =  the  taking  stock  and   count  of  the  weapons  of  the  able-bodied 
men  of  the  district — a  weapon-showing  or  local  muster  (Latin  Monstrare,  to  show). 


those  expressions  came  to  be  used  to  mean  either   the 
district  or  the  Court. 

A  Hundred  Court  had  both  civil  and  criminal  juris- 
diction within  the  Hundred.  In  Anglo-Saxon  days  folk- 
right  and  custom  would  be  declared  at  the  sittings  of  the 
Court  and  the  law  expounded  to  the  people  of  the 
Hundred.  The  profits  of  the  Court  were  collected  for  the 
King  by  the  royal  " reeve"  or  bailiff  of  the  Hundred. 
The  Court  would  be  presided  over,  or  at  any  rate  con- 
vened, by  the  Hundred-man  or  head  of  the  Hundred. 

As  regards  civil  jurisdiction,  a  Hundred  Court  exer- 
cised practically  the  same  authority  in  the  Hundred 
as  the  Court  Baron  did  in  the  manor.  Besides  con- 
troversies respecting  land,  it  entertained  personal  suits 
for  debt,  trespass,  &c.,  originally  to  any  amount,  but  in 
the  reign  of  Edward  I.  a  limit  of  forty  shillings1  was 
placed  on  all  suits  in  inferior  courts,  such  as  those 
of  the  Hundred  and  County. 

The  criminal  jurisdiction  of  the  Court  after  the 
Norman  conquest  was  exercised  in  the  Court  Leet  and 
View  of  Frankpledge,  and  the  Sheriff's  Tourn.  One  of 
the  original  objects  of  the  View  was  to  inspect  the  free- 
men of  the  Hundred  to  see  that  each  was  present  and 
had  the  necessary  sureties  for  his  good  conduct.  In 
course  of  time  this  safeguard  for  the  peace  of  the 

1  Probably  by  the  effect  of  the  Stat.  of  Gloucester,  1278.  This  sum,  equal  to 
about  £30  of  our  money,  of  course  then  represented  a  far  larger  jurisdiction  than 
in  later  years.  The  limit  existed  when  the  Courts  were  abolished  in  the  nineteenth 
century,  and  was  no  doubt  one  of  the  many  causes  contributing  to  their  decay. 


Hundred  lost  its  significance,  but  the  necessity  of  attend- 
ing the  Court  remained,  and  suitors  who  neglected  to  do 
so  were  fined. 

Beside  the  viewing  of  the  freeholders,  and  after  it 
became  obsolete,  the  criminal  business  of  the  Court  con- 
sisted in  judicial  enquiries  into  a  variety  of  matters, 
including  certain  crimes  and  misdemeanours  in  the 
Hundred,  minor  breaches  of  the  peace,  and  offences 
against  public  trade.  Among  the  subjects  of  enquiry 
were  encroachments,  stoppage  of  ways,  housebreakers, 
thieves,  affrays,  escapes,  forgers,  treasure  trove,  breakers 
of  the  assize  of  bread  and  ale,  false  measures  and 
weights,  and  two  classes  of  persons  whom  we  still  meet 
with,  namely,  "such  as  continually  haunt  taverns  and  no 
man  knoweth  whereon  they  do  live,"  and  "such  as  sleep 
by  day  and  walk  by  night,  and  eat  and  drink  well  and 
have  nothing."1  The  more  serious  offences  were  only 
punishable  in  the  Royal  Courts. 

The  judges  or  "judgers"  of  the  Court  were  twelve 
"good  and  law-worthy"  (legalis]  men  of  the  Hundred, 
usually  yeomen  with  a  sprinkling  of  knights  and  persons 
of  standing.  The  method  of  business  was  that  these 
"judgers,"  and  also  any  of  the  suitors  who  knew  of  the 
commission  of  any  offence,  "presented,"  or  publicly 
notified,  the  offender  at  the  Court.  If  the  offence  was 
proved,  he  was  placed  "in  mercy"  and  either  fined  or 
made  to  give  sureties  for  his  behaviour,  or  the  offence  was 

1  Stat.  de  Visu  Franciplegii  18  Edward  II. 


reported  to  the  Royal  Courts  for  punishment.  The 
essential  difference  between  this  body  of  "judgers  "  and 
the  modern  jury  was  that  the  "judgers"  were  chosen 
for  their  local  knowledge,  and  presented  offences  which 
they  personally  knew  to  have  been  committed.  They 
were  not,  like  the  modern  jury,  simply  judges  of  facts  of 
which  they  had,  in  theory,  no  previous  knowledge. 

The  amercements  were  assessed  by  two  suitors  termed 
1 '  affeerors, "  whose  duties  will  be  explained  on  a  later 
page.1  Persons  under  twelve  and  over  sixty,  and  women, 
were  excused  from  attendance,  but  all  others  resident 
in  the  Hundred  were  bound  to  be  present,  or  to  give 
satisfactory  "essoynes"  or  excuses.  These  were  the 
"suitors."  At  a  later  date  (in  the  reign  of  Henry  III.) 
prelates,  clergymen,  and  peers  were  exempted,  and  suitors 
were  permitted  to  appoint  attorneys  to  do  suit  for  them. 
The  Court  sat  monthly  and  was  presided  over  by  the 
Bailiff  or  Steward  of  the  Hundred,  and  the  profits  went 
to  the  owner  of  the  Hundred.  Twice  a  year,  however, 
after  Easter  and  Michaelmas,  the  Sheriff  of  the  County 
would  go  on  his  "Tourn,"  or  circuit,  and  preside  at  the 
Leet.  It  was  probably  only  at  these  two  sittings  of  the 
Court  that  suit  and  service  was  due,  and  consequently 
the  Court  would  be  more  largely  attended  than  at  the 
monthly  sittings.  The  fines  and  fees  on  these  two  days 
went  to  the  Crown  or  to  the  Sheriff  if  he  farmed  his 

1  See  post,  page  112. 


The  criminal  or  police  jurisdiction  of  the  Hundred 
Courts  gradually  became  of  less  importance  consequent 
upon  the  establishment  of  Justices  of  the  Peace  with 
concurrent  jurisdiction,  and  the  holding  of  assizes  and 
quarter  sessions ;  and  the  Court  survived  to  modern 
times  practically  only  as  a  Court  of  limited  civil 



The  Hundred  Court  of  Wirral — Wilaveston  the  meeting  place — Predomesday 
times  —  Domesday  references — The  Hundred  Court  in  Norman  Days — 
Exemptions  from  attendance — Birkenhead  Priory — Launcelyn  of  Poulton — 
Earl  Randle's  Charter  of  Liberties — Manor  of  Neston. 

AFTER  having  thus  very  briefly,  and  without  reference  to 
chronology,  sketched  the  nature  and  jurisdiction  of  a 
Hundred  Court,  we  may  turn  to  the  history  of  that  of 
Wirhael,  Wyrehale,  or  Wirral,  as  it  was  variously  spelt  at 
different  periods. 

In  spite  of  the  absence  or  scanty  nature  of  early 
records,  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  Hundred  Court 
of  Wirral  existed  in  an  organised  form  a  thousand  years 
and  more  ago.  As  one  of  the  Hundreds  of  Cheshire, 
Wilaveston  or  Wilaston  (as  Wirral  was  anciently  called) 
would  have  its  Mote  which,  possibly,  at  some  very  early 
time  may  have  met  at  Thingwall,  the  Danish  "meeting 
town"  near  Thurstaston.  The  name  "Wilaveston" 
itself  probably  refers  to  the  meeting  place  of  the 
Hundred.  Every  Hundred  had  an  appointed  place  of 
assembly,  from  which  it  frequently  derived  its  name. 
Many  Hundreds  bear  the  name  of  a  village  within  their 


borders  ;  others  derived  their  name  from  meeting  at  a 
prominent  object  such  as  a  well-known  stone,  barrow,  or 
hill.  The  old  Cheshire  Hundreds  chiefly  fell  within  the 
latter  class.1  Probably  the  meeting  place  for  Wirral  was 
at  a  stone  near  where  the  village  of  Willaston  later 
sprang  up.  Whether  the  stone  was  named  after  some 
one  called  Witlaf,2  or  became  known  as  the  Wirhael- 
stone,  and  hence  Wilaveston,  is  a  matter  of  conjecture. 
The  existence  of  such  a  stone  in  approximately  the 
centre  of  the  Hundred,  and  the  derivation  from  it  of  the 
name  of  the  Hundred  were  suggested  some  years  ago  by 
another  writer3  to  whom,  however,  the  idea  that  it  was 
the  meeting  place  of  the  Hundred-mote  does  not  seem 
to  have  occurred. 

The  Hundred  of  Wilaveston  comprised  upwards  of 
fifty  vills  or  townships,  for  the  most  part  lying  in 
modern  Wirral,  but  including  five  which  are  now  part 
of  the  Hundred  of  Broxton,  viz.,  Upton,  Picton,  Wervin, 
Trafford,  and  Guilden  Sutton.  Each  of  these  townships 
would  be  represented  at  the  Hundred-mote  by  their 
reeve  and  four  chief  men.  The  Hundred-man  would 
probably  be  nominated  either  by  the  King  or  by  the  Earl 
of  Mercia,  and  would  be  assisted  by  twelve  freeholders 

1  e.g.  Bucklow,  Exestan,  Dudestan,  Warmundestrov,  Atiscros,  &c.,  see  Brownbill, 
"Cheshire  in  Domesday  Book."  Hist.  Soc.  of  L.  &  C.,  vol.  xv.,  N.S.  i. 

For  instances  of  Hundreds  elsewhere,  see  Stubbs'  Const.  Hist,  i.,  119-20, 
Ballard's  "The  Domesday  Inquest,"  and  Gomme  on  "  Primitive  Folk  Moots." 

a  As  Mr.  Brownbill  thinks.     See  his  paper  already  referred  to. 

8  W.  H.  Black,  F.S.A.,  Report  on  Foreshore  Rights,  1868.  There  is  reason  to 
believe  the  stone  exists  under  one  of  the  farm  houses  in  the  village. 


of  the  Hundred  in  administering  justice.  By  them  the 
law  of  England  and  the  customs  of  the  Hundred  would 
be  declared,  whilst  questions  of  fact  would  be  tried  by 
compurgation  and  ordeal.  The  profits  of  the  Court 
would  be  divided  between  the  King  and  the  Earl,  the 
latter  taking  one  third  as  the  "3rd  penny  of  the 

From  Domesday  Book  it  appears  that  in  the  time 
of  Edward  the  Confessor  the  pleas  of  the  County 
Court  and  of  the  Hundred  Courts  of  Cheshire1  were 
farmed  (or  leased)  by  one  Mondret  (who  also  farmed 
the  City  of  Chester)  for  ,£50,  and  one  mark  of  gold. 
We  also  learn  from  Domesday  Book  that  the  magis- 
trates of  the  City  of  Chester  were  bound  to  attend  the 
sittings  of  the  Hundred  Court  and  were  fined  xos.  if 
they  were  absent  without  reasonable  excuse,  the  fine 
being  shared  between  the  King  and  the  Earl.2 

When,  upon  the  conquest  of  England,  William  I. 
became  feudal  owner  of  the  whole  country,  he  conse- 
quently became  Lord  of  all  Hundreds  and  entitled  to 
the  revenues  of  all  the  Hundred  Courts.  These  royal 
franchises  in  the  case  of  most  Hundreds  remained 
vested  in  the  Crown  for  generations,  though  in  some 
cases  the  Lordship  was  sold  or  granted  outright.  The 
Hundreds  of  Cheshire,  however,  were  part  of  the  pos- 

1  The  pleas  from  the  cantred  of  Inglefield  were  excepted. 

2  "Siquis  de  Hundret  remanebat  die   quo  sedebat  sine  excusatione  manifest;!, 
x  solidis  emendabat  inter  regem  et  comitem." 


sessions  given  by  the  Conqueror  to  the  Norman  Earls 
of  Chester,  and  remained  alienated  from  the  Crown, 
until,  upon  the  death  of  John  Scot,  Earl  of  Chester,  in 
1237,  Henry  III.  took  the  earldom  back  into  the  hands 
of  the  Crown,  created  his  son  Edward  Earl  of  Chester, 
and  granted  to  him,  amongst  other  things,  all  the 
Hundreds  and  Hundred  Courts  possessed  by  the 
Norman  Earls  of  the  County.1 

The  Court  of  Wirral  up  to  the  time  of  the  Con- 
queror would  be  attended  by  such  of  the  Abbots  and 
Priors  of  the  county  as  possessed  lands  in  the  Hundred 
and  had  no  charter  of  exemption.  Ecclesiastical  suits 
would  be  tried  there,  and  possibly  the  Bishop  sat  with 
the  Sheriff  to  assist  him  to  decide  them.  William  I. 
very  soon  removed  all  such  pleas  into  the  ecclesiastical 
courts.  But  the  Church  dignitaries  who  owned  lands 
in  the  Hundred,  and  their  tenants,  would  still  be  obliged, 
as  a  rule,  to  attend  and  do  suit  and  service,  though  in 
many  cases  we  shall  find  they  were  excused.  The 
attendance  of  ecclesiastics  at  the  Hundred  Courts  was 
entirely  abolished  in  the  last  years  of  Henry  III.2 
Whilst  the  Hundred  of  Wilaveston  was  under  the 
Norman  Earls,  the  Court  would  be  an  important  asset 
in  their  hands,  both  as  a  check  on  the  undue  growth 
in  influence  of  the  Abbot  of  St.  Werburgh  and  the 
Prior  of  Birkenhead,  and  as  a  source  of  revenue. 

1  See  Ormerod  (1882),  i.  150,  where  the  deed  is  printed. 
a  Stat.  of  Marlborough,  1267. 


There  are  very  few  records  relating  to  the  Court  at 
these  early  dates.  But  we  may  feel  sure  that  the 
Hundred-man  and  some  of  the  freeholders  formed 
part  of  the  jury  whose  oath  supplied  to  the  King's 
Commissioners  the  details  required  for  their  survey  of 
the  Hundred  contained  in  Domesday  Book.  The  in- 
formation there  given,  however,  relates  to  the  fiscal 
resources  of  the  Hundreds,  and  the  organisation  and 
jurisdiction  of  the  Hundred  Courts  are  not  explained. 

One  of  the  earliest  reminders  of  the  existence  of 
the  Court  of  Wirral  arises  out  of  the  strong  religious 
feeling  of  the  times,  which  made  it  of  importance  to 
gain  the  goodwill  of  the  Church,  for  which  purpose  many 
privileges  were  granted.  During  the  twelfth  century 
one  of  the  Randies,  Earl  of  Chester,  granted  to  the 
Prior  of  Birkenhead  and  to  his  monks  that  they  and 
their  freemen  should  be  free  and  quit  of  the  burden 
of  paying  suit  to  the  Hundred  Court  of  Wilaveston. 
Apparently  the  monks  used  to  pay  to  the  Sheriff  eight- 
pence  (as  Sheriff's  aid,  or  perhaps  in  lieu  of  attendance 
at  the  Turn),  and  of  this  also  they  were  relieved.  Many 
years  afterwards,  in  the  reign  of  Edward  III.,  the  Prior 
of  Birkenhead  was  called  upon  to  prove  his  right  to 
this  exemption,  and  produced  the  charter  from  Earl 
Randle  as  evidence.  It  also  appears  from  this  enquiry 
that  the  Prior  had  been  improperly  holding  a  Court 
for  the  enforcement  amongst  his  tenants  of  the  assize 
of  bread  and  beer,  offences  against  which  were  only 


presentable  at  the  Hundred  Court  in  the  absence  of  a 
grant  of  special  power  to  do  so  in  a  manorial  Court. 
The  Prior  disclaimed  any  right  to  do  this,1  and  it  was 
ordered  that  the  privilege  be  taken  into  the  hands  of 
the  Earl,  so  that  the  Prior's  tenants  offending  against 
the  assize  might  be  in  attendance  at  the  Turn  of  the 
Sheriff  in  the  Hundred  Court.  The  Prior  was  amerced 
for  his  presumption.2 

Privileges  similar  to  those  granted  to  the  Birkenhead 
Priors  were  also  granted  to  the  Abbot  of  St.  Werburgh, 
and  to  the  monks  of  Dieulacres  ;  and  in  the  reign  of 
Henry  III.  we  find  the  local  Bishop  (then  of  Lichfield 
and  Coventry)  claiming  a  general  exemption  for  him- 
self and  tenants  from  attendance  at  the  Hundred 

Favoured  individuals  also  obtained  these  privileges. 
Robert  Launcelyn  of  Poulton-in-Wirral  was  granted  by 
Randle  Meschines,  one  of  the  Norman  Earls  of  Chester, 
exemption,  for  himself  and  his  tenants  of  the  Manors  of 
Poulton  and  Nether  Bebington,  from  attendance  both 
at  the  Hundred  and  Shire  Courts.  This  charter  was 
pleaded  by  one  of  the  family  in  the  reign  of  Edward  III., 

1  A  right  to  enforce  the  assize  in  his  Court   at  Shotwick   had  been  successfully 
set  up  by  the  Abbot  in  the  reign  of  Edward  II.,  noted  p.  64,  vol.  xix.-xx.,  N.  S., 
Trans.  Hist.  Soc.  of  Lanes,  and  Ches. 

2  The  plea  is  badly  printed   in  Ormerod  (1882),  vol.   ii.  462.     It  is  there  noted 
that  this  plea  to  quo  warranto  contains  perhaps  the  last  instance  of  the  use  of  the 
name  of  "  Wilaston"  for  "  Wirral."     A  marginal  note  in  the  plea  seems  to  have  been 
necessary  at  that  date  to  explain  their  identity. 

3  Quo  warranto.     Hen.  III. 


and  the  Sheriff  ordered  to  allow  the  privilege.1  Another 
exempted  person  in  Wirral  was  Sir  William  Troutbeck 
of  Dunham  who,  in  the  reign  of  Henry  VI.,  claimed  for 
himself  and  his  tenants  of  the  Manors  of  Little  Neston 
and  Hargrave,  freedom  from  all  suit  to  the  Hundred 
Court,  a  privilege  no  doubt  dating  from  Norman  times.2 

Mention  must  also  be  made  of  a  comprehensive 
charter  granted  by  one  of  the  Randies  to  a  William  Fitz 
Gerard  which,  besides  freeing  him  from  suit  of  court 
both  for  County  and  Hundred  throughout  all  the  Earl's 
lands,  granted  to  him  house  bote,  hay  bote,  and  fire 
bote,  with  license  to  purchase  land.3 

Early  in  the  thirteenth  century  the  third  Randle, 
Earl  of  Chester,  gave  a  general  charter4  of  privileges 
to  his  barons  which  will  be  referred  to  again  later  on. 
Amongst  other  things,  it  provided  that  if  any  "judger" 
(or  juror)  or  any  suitor  of  the  Hundred  or  County  Court 
should  be  amerced  in  the  Earl's  Court,  the  "judger" 
should  go  free  on  payment  of  two  shillings,  and  the 

1  Cheshire  Plea  Rolls,  4  &  5  Ed.  III.  m.  12.  The  same  charter  was  exhibited 
temp.  Hen.  VII.  by  William  Launcelyn,  additional  information  being-  given  that  the 
charterers  were  only  to  answer  for  offences  before  the  Chief  Justice  of  Chester,  and 
that  Robert  Launcelyn  was  to  give  the  Earl  one  bay  charger.  C.  P.  R.  undated  but 
20  Hen.  VII.  m.  16. 

'  Ormerod  (1882),  ii.  39.  Exemption  from  service  on  juries  of  the  Hundred  and 
County  Court  was  granted  to  Hamo  de  Mascy  on  account  of  the  good  service  done 
for  the  Earl  of  Gascony  and  especially  at  the  battle  of  Poictiers  (C.  P.  R.  36-39  Ed. 
III.  m.  7);  also  to  Sir  John  Massy  (C.  P.  R.  46  &  47  Ed.  III.  m.  21)  and  to  many 

3  C.  P.  R.  ii  &  12  Ed.  II.  m.  4d. 

•  Pat.  Roll.  28  Ed.  I. 


suitor  on  payment  of  twelve  pence,  a  provision  illustrat- 
ing the  relative  importance  of  such  persons.  An  im- 
portant concession  was  made  by  giving  each  baron 
liberty  to  defend  all  his  manors  and  lordships  in  the 
Hundred  and  County  Courts  by  having  his  own  steward 
present  there  to  represent  his  interests. 

It  was  customary  to  promulgate  laws  and  ordinances 
at  the  Hundred  Court.  Magna  Carta  must  have  been 
there  proclaimed,  and  another  instance  occurred,  upon 
the  passing,  in  1275,  of  the  batch  of  laws  known  as  the 
statutes  of  Westminster,  when  Edward  I.  issued  a  man- 
date by  letters  patent1  to  the  Justiciar  of  Chester  to  cause 
these  laws  to  be  read  and  solemnly  proclaimed  in  each 
of  the  Hundred  Courts,  and  in  the  County  Court,  the 
cities,  boroughs,  and  vills  merchant  of  the  shire. 

Lands  were  often  held  from  the  Crown  under  the 
obligation  of  furnishing  a  "judger"  at  the  royal  and 
local  courts.  The  only  case  in  Wirral  found  by  the 
writer  is  revealed  by  the  enquiry  held  on  the  death,  in 
1278,  of  Robert  de  Montalt,  one  of  a  line  of  Cheshire 
barons  who  were  hereditary  stewards  of  the  earldom. 
We  learn  that  he  held  the  manor  of  Neston  in  Wirral 
from  the  King  in  capite  by  the  service  of  rinding  a 
"judger  "  for  the  County  Court  and  for  the  Court  of  the 
Hundred  of  Wilaveston.2 

The    Hundred    Court   had    no  jurisdiction   over   the 

1  Pat.  Roll.  3  Ed.  I. 

2  Williamson's  Villare  Cest. 


Forest  of  Wirral  and  all  pleas  relating  to  forest  law  and 
custom  were  dealt  with  at  the  Forest  Eyres  by  royal 
justices.  We  may  infer,  perhaps,  that  during  the  period 
of  Wirral's  afforestation,  the  Hundred  Court  would  not 
be  very  largely  attended. 



Police  system  of  the  Earls  of  Chester — Grand  Serjeant — Handle's  charter — 
Serjeants  of  Wirral — Farms  of  Hundred  Courts — The  bedell  and  bailiff- 
Abuses — Inquisition,  temp.  Edward  III. 

SUCH  are  the  very  scanty  references  and  facts  that  can 
be  gathered  together  with  regard  to  the  history  of  the 
Court  up  to  the  commencement  of  the  fourteenth  century. 
Soon  after  that  date  material  becomes  more  abundant. 
But  before  we  plunge  into  it,  an  outline  of  the  police 
system  of  the  Earls  of  Chester  is  necessary  in  order  to 
appreciate  the  position  of  the  officials  whom  we  shall 
find  controlled  the  Hundred  Courts. 

Before  the  institution  of  justices  of  the  peace  the 
preservation  of  law  and  order  was  entrusted  to  certain 
palatine  officers,  called  Serjeants  of  the  peace,  under 
the  control  of  a  Grand  Serjeant.  These  Serjeants, 
attended  by  a  staff  of  assistants,  known  as  bedells, 
perambulated  the  Hundreds,  taking  cognisance  of  all 
offences  against  the  peace.  They  had  power  to  arrest 
offenders,  and  in  early  days  might  instantly  behead 
them,  if  caught  in  the  act,  or  if  sufficient  evidence  was 
immediately  forthcoming,  and  claim  a  fee  of  a  shilling 

'?  B 


a  head  from  the  Earl l ;  otherwise  they  had  to  present 
the  robber  or  wrongdoer  for  judgment  at  the  Hundred 
Court,  or  before  the  Earl's  justice.  Their  duties  also 
included  making  proclamations,  the  execution  of  attach- 
ments and  distresses,  and  the  service  of  summonses 
and  writs.  The  expense  of  the  maintenance  (called 
"putura")  of  these  Serjeants  and  their  retinue  lay  upon 
the  Hundred,  or  rather  upon  certain  of  its  inhabitants. 
We  find  that  only  those  persons  who  resided  on  what 
were  called  "Warelands"  or  "Warlands"  were  bound 
to  afford  this  maintenance  in  rotation.  The  exact  nature 
of  "Warlands"  (from  wara  =  ward)  has  been  the  subject 
of  much  discussion,2  but  as  this  was  chiefly  in  connec- 
tion with  its  use  in  Domesday  Book,  it  is  not  neces- 
sary to  refer  to  it  here.  "Wara"  means  defence  or 
protection,3  and  in  Domesday  seems  to  have  been 
applied  to  lands  which  " defended"  or  exonerated  other 
lands  from  payment  of  the  Danegeld  by  taking  over 
the  liability  and  having  their  own  assessment  increased. 
This  does  not  at  first  seem  to  be  relevant  to  the 
"Warlands"  of  Cheshire  in  the  thirteenth  and  four- 
teenth centuries,  but  the  connection  may  be  found  in 
a  not  unwarrantable  assumption*  that  after  the  geld 

1  The  heads  were  exhibited  at  Chester  Castle,  temp.  Edward   I.     Harl.   MSS. 
2115,  2074,  232.     For  an  instance  of  the  payment  of  the  fee  to  Sir  Richard  Sutton 
and  Isabella  his  wife,  see  M.  A.  771. 

2  "Villainage  in  England"  (Vinogradoff),  i.  241  ;  "Feudal  England"  (Round), 
117,  and  elsewhere. 

8  See  "Borough  Customs"  (Selden  Soc.),  vol.  ii.   clix.,  and  "Feudal  England" 
(loc.  «'/.) 

4  Suggested  to  the  writer  by  Mr.  Ballard,  and  concurred  in  by  Prof.  Vinogradoff. 


ceased  to  be  levied  in  the  twelfth  century,  the  term 
"warland"  perhaps  became  used  simply  to  mean  lands 
which  acquitted  other  lands  of  any  renders  or  pay- 
ments ;  and  thus  was  applied  to  those  lands  in  the 
Hundred  from  which  alone  puture  for  the  Serjeants  of 
the  peace,  or  forest  Serjeants,  could  be  exacted.1 

From  a  record  of  the  reign  of  Edward  I.  it  appears 
that  the  lowest  kind  of  warland  in  Cheshire  contained 
an  acre,  and  that  no  puture  (for  the  forest  Serjeants  at 
least)  could  be  exacted  from  tenants  of  less.2  Payment 
in  kind,  food,  drink,  corn,  dogs-meat,  &c.,  constituted 
the  original  "puture,"  but  in  course  of  time  it  was 
commuted  into  a  monetary  payment. 

During  their  rounds,  the  Serjeants  and  bedells  had 
to  take  "pot  luck,"  and  were  only  entitled  to  demand 
such  meat  and  drink  as  might  happen  to  be  in  the 
house  when  they  visited  it.  Only  two,  or  at  the  most 
three,  of  the  party  would  be  billeted  upon  each  house, 
and  after  a  supper,  a  night's  rest,  and  a  morning 
meal,  they  had  to  move  on  again,  leaving  that  house 
free  from  the  obligation  until  its  turn  came  round 

There  seems  to  have  been  originally  twenty  Serjeants 

1  "Warland"  in  Cheshire  seems  to  be  the  same  as  "terra  puturae":  cf.  pleas 
of  Baron  of  Dunham  Massy  (Harl.  MSS.  2008),  and  of  Baron  of  Halton  (Ormerod 
(1882),  i.  703). 

2  Plea  of  forester  of  Delamere   (31  Ed.  I.),  Harl.  MSS.  2115,  232,  and   printed 
Ormerod  (1882),  ii.  109. 

3  A  similar  kind  of  system  to   the  "  firma  unius  noctis "  of  Domesday,  and  the 
4 '  gwestva  "  of  Wales. 


(with,  of  course,  numerous  sub-servients)  for  the  whole 
of  Cheshire,  but  the  charter  of  Randle  the  third, 
already  mentioned,  reduced  the  number  in  time  of 
peace  to  twelve,  with  one  horse  for  the  Master  Serjeant 
(for  which  free  provender  could  only  be  claimed  between 
Easter  and  Michaelmas  by  courtesy),  though  in  time  of 
war  the  number  of  the  Serjeants  was  to  be  regulated 
by  the  advice  of  the  barons  and  the  judges.  An 
attempt  to  remove  a  grievance  may  be  recognised  in 
the  statement  in  this  charter  that  the  Serjeants  were  no 
longer  to  exact  gifts  or  sheaves  of  corn  as  part  of  their 
board  and  lodging.1  The  dignity  and  jurisdiction  of 
the  great  barons,  to  be  mentioned  later,  was  safe- 
guarded by  a  provision  that  the  Earl's  Serjeants  were 
not  to  eat  in  any  of  their  manor  houses,  or  to  exact 
board  and  lodging  from  them. 

The  Grand  Serjeanty  of  Cheshire  was  a  hereditary 
office  held  by  the  Suttons  and  other  barons  of  Malpas. 
But  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Grand  Serjeant  does  not  seem 
to  have  included  either  Macclesfield  or  Wirral.2  The 
Serjeanty  of  the  former  was  held  at  the  commencement 
of  the  thirteenth  century  by  one  Adam  de  Sutton,  but 
about  1 220  it  was  granted  to  the  Davenport  family,3 
while  the  exemption  of  Wirral  from  the  general  system 

1  Cf.  the  provision  in  the  Forest  Charter  of  Hen.  III.,  that  the  bedells  are  not  to 
take  scotale  or  sheaves  improperly. 

•  Harl.  MSS.  2155,  f.  75. 

3  The  charter  is  printed  in  Earwaker's  "  East  Cheshire,"  ii.  379.  See  also  Orme- 
rod's  "Cheshire  "  (1882),  iii.  61. 


perhaps  arose  from  the  fact  that  in  these  times  it  was 
under  forest  law.  A  similar  system  of  Serjeants  for  the 
forests  of  Cheshire  was  in  force  (those  in  Wirral  being 
under  the  control  of  the  Storetons,  and  the  Stanleys  at 
a  later  date),  and  their  perambulations  were  no  doubt 
sufficient  in  those  days  for  the  preservation  of  order  in 
Wirral  in  times  of  peace.  At  any  rate,  we  find  that  one 
of  the  Randies,  Earl  of  Chester,  granted  a  charter1  to 
the  freemen  of  Wirral  acquitting  them  from  all  liability 
to  feed  Serjeants  of  the  peace,  but  preserving  the  obli- 
gation to  do  so  in  respect  to  the  forest  Serjeants  through- 
out the  whole  Hundred,  except  in  the  manors  of  the 
Abbot  of  Chester  (Eastham,  Bromborough,  Irby,  and 
Sutton),  whose  position  in  Wirral  was  perhaps  at  this 
time  almost  equal  to  that  of  the  great  barons  in  other 
parts  of  Cheshire.  This  charter,  however,  still  kept 
Wirral  liable  to  find  and  maintain  as  many  as  twelve 
Serjeants  if  any  business  rendering  them  necessary  should 
arise.  On  the  de-afforestation  of  Wirral,  the  necessity 
for  a  serjeant  with  a  staff  of  bedells  again  arose,  though 
the  Serjeanty  had  become  by  then  merely  a  nominal  posi- 
tion, sometimes  included  in  the  farm  of  the  Hundred. 

Each  of  the  great  barons  of  Cheshire  had  his  own 
organisation  of  Serjeants  and  bedells,  who  exercised, 
within  the  limit  of  their  lord's  district,  much  the  same 
jurisdiction  as  the  Serjeants  of  the  Earl.  A  great  deal  of 
documentary  evidence  exists,  but  cannot  be  dealt  with 

1  Pat.  Roll,  28  Ed.  I. 


here,  illustrating  in  the  most  ample  manner  what  were 
the  duties  and  privileges  of  these  baronial  Serjeants,  and 
has  been  used  to  throw  light  upon  those  of  the  Earl's 
Serjeants,  which  would  certainly  not  be  less  important.1 

The  manner  in  which  the  close  connection  of  the 
bedells  with  the  Hundred  Court  and  their  control  of  it 
seems  to  have  arisen  must  next  be  traced. 

As  the  representative  of  the  Earl  of  Chester,  the 
Sheriff  was  responsible  for  the  revenue  of  the  county,  and 
had  to  render  account,  at  the  Earl's  exchequer  at  Chester, 
for  the  income  of  the  Earl's  demesnes  and  franchises. 
To  assist  in  the  collection  and  realisation  of  this  revenue, 
various  officers  were  appointed,  escheators,  vendors  of 
the  goods  of  felons,  and  many  others. 

The  profits  from  the  Hundred  Courts  of  the  County 
Palatine  contributed  a  large  annual  sum,  and  its  col- 
lection was  placed  in  the  hands  of  the  officers  of  the 
Hundred.  In  many  cases  the  revenue  would  be  simply 
collected  by  " approvers,"  but  a  system  grew  up  of 
farming  out  the  right  to  collect  the  profits  of  the  Hun- 
dred Court  to  the  bedells  or  to  the  bailiffs.  Such  farms 
carried  with  them  either  the  whole  or  portions  of  the 
issues  of  the  Hundred,  for  which  the  lessee  paid  a  yearly 
rent,  and  when  he  took  the  whole  profits,  he  naturally 
used  to  preside  by  himself  or  a  steward  in  the  Hundred 

1  See  Ormerod's  "  Cheshire"  (1882),  vol.  ii.  703  (Halton)  ;  iii.  61  (Davenport)  ;  ii. 
601  (Malpas)  ;  iii.  187  (Kinderton) ;  i.  526  (Dunham) ;  iii.  790  (Stockport) ;  ii.  108  (Dela- 
mere).  Also,  Earwaker's  "East  Cheshire,"  i.  345;  ii.  3-7. 


Court.  After  paying  his  rent,  he  made  what  profit  he 
could  out  of  the  fees  and  amercements  or  so  much  of 
them  as  he  had  leased.  If  he  farmed  the  whole  revenue, 
the  bedell  became,  for  the  term  of  his  lease,  to  all  intents 
and  purposes  lord  of  the  Hundred,  and  as  such  would 
naturally  be  a  person  of  considerable  importance  and 
influence  in  the  county ;  and  his  position  must  not 
be  confused  with  the  lowly  one  of  the  mere  sheriffs 
officer,  whose  chief  business  is  to  serve  writs  and  levy 

It  is  not  surprising  to  find  the  bedells  as  farmers  of 
the  Hundred.  The  Serjeants  of  the  peace  (whose  assis- 
tants they  were)  had  the  duty  of  presenting  offenders  at 
the  Hundred  Court,  and  were,  we  shall  find,  rewarded 
with  a  portion  of  the  profits.  No  doubt,  in  process  of 
time,  the  bedells  became  localised  officials  in  each  Hun- 
dred, the  Court  of  which  they  would  regularly  attend. 
Its  business  would  to  a  considerable  extent  depend  upon 
their  activity,  and  it  is  therefore  natural  to  find  them 
leasing  an  office,  the  profits  of  which  their  own  exertions 
could  largely  augment.  The  office  of  bedell  seems 
nearly  always  to  have  been  held  in  conjunction  with  that 
of  the  bailiff  of  the  Hundred,  who  was  an  official  of  the 
Earl,  charged  with  the  execution  in  the  Hundred  of  the 
royal  and  palatine  writs  and  commissions.  He  perhaps 
also  assisted  to  collect  subsidies  and  taxes.  He  does  not 
seem  to  have  taken  much  part  in  the  local  administration 
of  justice  in  the  Hundred  Courts,  but  from  the  fact  that 


the  same  person  nearly  always  held  both  offices,  it  is 
very  difficult  to  draw  a  defining  line  between  the  duties 
of  bedell  and  bailiff.  But  it  is  the  bedell  who  always 
appears  on  the  Sheriff's  accounts  in  connection  with  the 
issues  of  the  Hundred,  whilst  we  shall  find  that  it  is  to 
the  bailiff  that  all  royal  commissions  and  orders  affecting 
the  Hundred  are  always  directed.  In  course  of  time 
the  two  offices  practically  merged,  and  we  find  frequent 
mention  of  one  single  "  office  of  bailiff  or  bedell."  No 
one  could,  of  course,  be  forced  to  take  a  lease  of  either 
office,  but  there  is  ground  for  thinking  that  the  "ap- 
provers "  were  sometimes  appointed  without  regard  to 
their  wishes,  and  were  bound  to  serve  a  term  of  office. 
We  have,  for  example,  the  case  of  William  Partridge,  to 
whom,  as  a  special  favour,  having  fallen  from  his  high 
estate,  letters  patent l  were  granted  by  the  Prince  of 
Wales  exempting  him,  on  account  of  his  poverty,  from 
being  appointed  a  sheriff's  bailiff,  bedell,  or  "catchpol" 
in  any  Hundred  of  Cheshire. 

The  farming  of  these  offices  led  to  great  hardship  in 
many  parts  of  England,  both  on  the  Sheriffs  and  on  the 
county.  Each  shire  was  assessed  to  a  certain  rent  or 
farm,  for  the  collection  of  which  the  Sheriff  was  personally 
responsible.  Each  Hundred  was  rated  to  this  farm, 
which  was  occasionally  raised  by  royal  surveyors.  In 
some  cases  the  Sheriff  himself  used  to  let  the  profits  of 

1  C.  R.  R.  (1401),  No.  75,  m.  i,  d.  i.     A  good  description  of  the  bedell,  both  as 
farmer  and  approver,  is  given  in  Rot.  Hund.  ii.  204-5. 


the  Hundreds  at  a  higher  rate  than  that  at  which  they 
were  assessed,  the  farmers  in  their  turn  having  to  exact 
the  increase  in  some  way  out  of  the  people.  In  other 
cases,  in  spite  of  the  raising  of  the  farm  of  the  shire, 
there  would  be  in  existence  leases  by  the  Crown  of  the 
Hundreds  at  the  old  rent ;  but  the  Sheriff,  notwithstand- 
ing, was  made  responsible  for  the  increased  assessment, 
which  he  had  to  account  for  either  out  of  his  own  pocket 
or,  more  usually,  by  exactions  from  the  people  of  the 
Hundred.  Various  laws1  were  passed  to  remedy  these 
and  similar  grievances,  the  effect  of  which  was  to  prevent 
the  sale  or  gift  outright  of  a  Hundred,  and  also  to  prohibit 
leases  except  through  the  Sheriff  of  the  county  and  at 
the  rent  for  which  he  was  responsible  ;  the  rents  were  also 
to  be  reduced  to  the  amounts  which  formerly  had  been 
paid.  Stringent  inquiries  were  held  from  time  to  time 
into  the  conduct  of  the  sheriffs  and  bailiffs  of  the  kingdom, 
and  many  were  dismissed  for  misbehaviour. 

These  abuses  principally  took  place  in  the  thirteenth 
century,  and,  owing  to  the  date  when  the  regular  palatine 
records  begin,  there  is  little  to  show  whether  they  occurred 
in  Cheshire  as  in  other  counties.  There  can,  however,  be 
no  doubt  that  they  did,  and  continued  to  do  so,  and  that 
the  Hundreds  of  Cheshire  were  farmed  by  the  Earls  and 
their  Sheriffs  in  a  burdensome  manner.  This  would  be 
the  easier  because  the  laws  of  the  rest  of  the  kingdom 
could  not  be  enforced  in  the  county,  and  the  remedial 

1  2  Ed.  III.  c.  12  ;  14  Ed.  III.  c.  9,  &c. 


measures  referred  to  would  have  little  or  no  effect  in  it. 
Moreover,  we  find  that  in  the  reign  of  Edward  II.  three 
justices  itinerant  were  appointed  to  inquire  into  the 
behaviour  of  the  palatine  bailiffs  and  ministers,  a  com- 
mission doubtless  rendered  necessary  by  their  exactions 
and  abuse  of  office.  In  other  ways,  too,  the  proceedings 
of  the  officials  had  frequently  to  be  looked  into.  The  loss 
or  misappropriation  of  the  fees  payable  in  the  Hundred  of 
Macclesfield  in  lieu  of  puture  was  the  subject  of  inquiries 
in  1281 1  and  I283,2  and  in  1357  we  find  Edward  III. 
addressing  a  letter3  to  the  Justice  of  Chester  commanding 
him  to  summon  the  Serjeants  of  the  peace,  as  it  was 
alleged  they  had  leased  their  offices  to  undutiful  persons 
who  were  slack  in  maintaining  the  King's  peace  and  even 
concealed  the  commission  of  trespasses.  The  way  in 
which  the  officers  of  the  Hundreds  abused  their  position 
is  clearly  shown  by  an  inquisition4  in  the  reign  of  Edward 
III.  The  freeholders  (or  charterers)  of  the  county  of 
Cheshire  complained  of  undue  oppressions  and  extortions 
practised  by  the  bedells  (who  were  sometimes  called 
Serjeants  of  the  Chamber).  It  seems  that  up  to  the 
time  of  Edward  I.  and  Robert  de  Bulkyleigh,  Sheriff  of 
Chester,  the  bedells  had  served  their  summonses  in  person, 
certified  by  the  testimony  of  two  freeholders  at  the  Courts, 
but  subsequently  the  bedells  had  forced  the  freeholders  to 
serve  the  summonses,  and  took  fines  from  them  of  one, 

1  Pat.  Roll,  9  Ed.  I.  i.  471.  2  Pat.  Roll,  II  Ed.  I.  ii.  76. 

3  Close  Roll,  i  Ed.  III.  i.  226.  «  C.  P.  R.  4  &  5  Ed.  III.  m.  15. 


two,  or  three  pence  that  they  should  not  be  sent  to  do  so 
far  from  home.  Later  on,  the  bedells,  growing  bolder, 
not  only  delivered  to  the  freeholders  the  panells  of  names 
directed  to  them  by  the  Sheriff,  but  other  panells  of  un- 
limited names,  and  forced  the  freeholders  to  serve  the 
summonses  both  within  and  without  the  Hundred  in 
which  they  lived  under  pain  of  a  fine.  The  Justice  of 
Chester  endeavoured  to  avoid  holding  this  inquiry  as  he 
saw  it  would  tend  to  the  great  decrease  of  the  revenue  of 
the  Sheriff,  but  he  was  forced  to  proceed.  In  the  result 
it  was  decided  that  the  freeholders  were  bound  to  serve 
the  summonses,  but  only  in  their  own  Hundred,  and  for 
panells  of  twenty-four  names  ;  and  that  they  could  only  be 
called  upon  to  testify  to  the  service  at  the  next  sitting  of 
the  Court.  No  freeholder  was  to  be  called  upon  to  serve 
a  second  summons1  until  all  others  in  the  Hundred  had 
served  in  turn,  and  the  bedells  were  no  longer  to  take 
gifts,  such  as  straw  for  thatching  (thiggyng]  or  casual 
meals  (fulcenale)*  but  were  only  entitled  to  their  puture 
in  the  houses  of  persons  residing  on  Warlands. 

1  The  summons  in  the  case  of  the  neighbouring  Hundred  Court  of  Eddisbury  was 
anciently  performed  by  a  messenger,  who  bore  a  large  oaken  ball,  perforated  and 
slung  on  a  leather  thong,  the  ends  of  which  were  fixed  on  an  iron  bar.     After  summon- 
ing one  township,  the  messenger  was  met  on  the  limits  of  the  next  by  another  man,  to 
whom  he  transferred  the  summons  and  the  ball,  which  were  sent  in  this  manner  round 
the  Hundred.     Ormerod  (1882),  ii.  4. 

2  Professor  Skeat  thinks  "  thiggyng"  is  the  Anglo-Saxon  "  thiging  "  =  the  taking 
of  anything  to  eat  or  drink  (N.  &  Q.  10  S.  viii.  92) ;  but  for  reasons  given  in  N.  &  Q, 
10  S.  viii.  296,  the  writer  thinks  it  is  Anglo-Saxon  "  theccan  "  =  straw  or  thatch.     The 
writer  adopts  Professor  Skeat's  view  at  the  former  reference  that  "  fulcenale  "  may  be 
translated  as  "  a  casual  lunch."     Similar  kinds  of  exactions  by  bedells  and  forest 
officers  were  "  filctale,"  or  field-ale,  and  "  sothale,"  or  "scotale." 


OF   WIRRAL    FROM    1352 

Decline  of  the  Hundred  Courts — Their  sources  of  revenue — Pelf— The  Sheriff's 
accounts — The  issues  of  the  bedelry — Prison  suit — Waifs — The  rents  of  Wirral, 

THE  development  of  the  system  of  itinerant  justices  and  of 
trial  by  jury  would  in  a  very  great  measure  detract  from 
the  importance  of  the  Hundred  Courts  by  removing  the 
more  important  criminal  cases  from  their  jurisdiction,  and 
in  common  with  other  Hundred  Courts,  we  can  date  the 
decline  of  that  of  Wirral  from  the  rise  in  power  of  the 
justices  of  the  peace,  the  establishment  of  quarter  sessions, 
and  the  changes  and  improvements  in  the  general  judicial 
system  effected  in  the  time  of  Henry  III.,  although  all 
these  did  not  have  their  full  effect  in  the  County  Palatine. 
This  decay  of  the  ancient  Courts  is  amply  evidenced  by  the 
petitions  presented  in  1376  to  the  Good  Parliament.  It  is 
clear  from  them  that  the  Hundred  Courts  of  the  kingdom 
were  being  held  irregularly,  without  due  notice,  and  at 
other  than  the  usual  periods.  Only  a  short  time  before  it 
had  become  necessary  to  re-enact 1  the  provisions  of  Magna 
Charta  that  the  sittings  of  the  Sheriffs  Turn  should  only 

1  31  Ed.  III.  c.  15. 



be  held  after  Easter  and  Michaelmas,  owing  to  the  practice 
of  Sheriffs  of  holding  it  at  Lent  or  at  the  end  of  August, 
seasons  set  apart  for  devotion  and  harvest ;  but  the  peti- 
tions show  the  Sheriffs  View  of  Frankpledge  was  still 
being  demanded  at  other  times,  and  that  the  evils  produced 
by  excessive  farming  were  still  alive. 

From  this  point  onward  the  decline  becomes  more 
rapid,  and  the  Hundred  Court  gradually  becomes  a 
tribunal  devoted  mainly  to  the  regulation  of  local  privi- 
leges, the  collection  of  small  debts,  and  the  settlement 
of  petty  disputes.  It  is  after  the  decline  had  set  in  that 
regular  records  relating  to  the  Court  of  Wirral  begin  to 
be  available.  There  are  none,  however,  of  the  sittings, 
or  actual  proceedings,  of  the  Court  for  hundreds  of  years, 
and  all  we  can  do  is  to  satisfy  ourselves  of  its  continued 
existence  by  noting  the  names  and  terms  of  office  of  those 
responsible  for  its  organisation,  and  by  illustrating  some 
of  the  duties  which  fell  upon  them  as  holders  of  such 
offices.  In  dealing  with  the  latter,  matters  will  be  referred 
to  which  may  seem  to  have  little  to  do  with  the  Hundred 
Court,  but  it  must  be  remembered  that  the  officers  of  the 
Hundred  had  not  only  to  attend  to  the  local  administration 
of  justice ;  they  had  also  the  duty  of  executing  in  the 
Hundred  the  royal  writs  and  commissions ;  and  if  an 
attempt  were  made  to  separate  these  functions,  an  incorrect 
idea  of  the  position  of  these  officers  might  be  conveyed. 

But  before  commencing  upon  the  regular  series 
of  records  beginning  half-way  through  the  fourteenth 


century  with  the  accounts  of  the  Sheriffs  and  the  officers 
of  the  Hundred,  the  main  sources  of  the  profits  obtained 
from  a  Cheshire  Hundred  Court  and  its  leet  jurisdiction 
in  the  thirteenth  and  fourteenth  centuries  will  shortly  be 
indicated.  They  would  include  the  fines  and  amerce- 
ments and  the  fees  arising  from  the  civil  and  minor 
criminal  cases  which  came  before  the  monthly  Court,  and 
before  the  great  leet  held  biennially,  and  known  as  the 
Sheriff's  Turn  ;  also  the  fines  inflicted  for  non-attendance 
of  suitors  of  the  Hundred  at  the  annual  View  of  Frank- 
pledge,  or  for  neglect  on  the  part  of  those  liable  to  serve 
as  jurors  in  the  monthly  Courts.  A  certain  amount  of 
revenue  would  also  come  from  the  compositions  paid  for 
exemption  from  attendance  or  service.  In  addition  to 
these,  there  would  be  various  royal  perquisites  which,  in 
the  case  of  Wirral,  included  such  items  as  reliefs,  feudal 
fees  payable  to  the  Crown  on  taking  up  an  estate  in  the 
Hundred ;  escheats,  property  the  owner  of  which  died 
intestate  and  without  an  heir,  or  for  other  reasons  revert- 
ing to  the  Crown  ;  the  right  to  enforce  by  fine  the  assize 
of  bread,  wine,  ale,  and  beer,  regulating  the  quality  and 
weight  of  those  commodities  —  after  being  fined  three 
times  the  bakers  were  liable  to  the  pillory,  and  the 
brewers  to  the  tumbril.  A  most  lucrative  source  of  income 
were  the  " waifs"  (vaga)  which  included  the  goods  and 
chattels  of  felons,  fugitives,  suicides,  and  outlaws ;  these 
were  forfeited  to  the  Crown  by  the  consequent  attainder  of 
blood.  We  find  that  in  Cheshire  a  proportion  of  such 


goods  were  granted  to  the  Serjeants  and  bedells  of  the 
peace  as  a  perquisite  of  office  and  as  a  stimulus  to  activity, 
and  bore  the  name  of  *  *  pelf  "  or  * '  pilfre."  Under  this  title, 
the  Serjeants  took  the  felon's  best  beast  of  each  kind,  all 
wooden  vessels  and  articles,  linen  and  woollen  cloths,  a 
quarter  of  his  threshed  corn,  and  in  some  cases  his  money, 
if  it  did  not  exceed  one  hundred  shillings.  Everything 
made  or  bound  with  iron  seems  to  have  gone,  with  the 
residue  of  the  felon's  goods,  to  the  Earl.1 

The  right  of  the  Serjeants  to  "pelf"  was  questioned 
(probably  in  the  reign  of  Edward  II.)  in  the  case  of  the 
seizure  by  the  bedells  of  Richard  de  Sutton  (the  Grand 
Serjeant  of  Cheshire)  of  the  goods  of  one  William  le 
Berch  of  Hatherton,  which  had  been  reduced  into  the 
royal  custody  by  the  coroner  for  the  Hundred  of  Wich 
Malbank  (Nantwich).  One  of  the  bedells  was  summoned, 
and  pleaded  the  custom,  but  as,  in  the  absence  of  his 
master,  he  could  not  prove  it,  the  matter  was  adjourned 
to  the  next  County  Court.  There  is  no  record  of  the 
decision,  but  probably  it  was  in  the  bedell's  favour.2 
Strictly  speaking,  the  goods  of  felons  committing  the 
more  serious  felonies  would  not  come  within  the  purview 
of  the  Hundred  Court,  as  the  felons  could  only  be  re- 
ported and  not  sentenced  there  ;  but  it  was  the  duty  of 

1  For  further  details,  see  the  references  given  in  note  i,  p.  22,  ante.     As  to  the 
corn,  see  note  I,  p.  39,  post.     "Pelf"  is  mentioned  in  the  Congleton  charter  (1272), 
Had.  MSS.  2074,  f.  194 ;  Ormerod,  iii.  36,  and  a  quotation  containing-  it  is  printed 
in  "  Borough  Customs"  (Selden  Soc.),  vol.  i.  p.  65,  where  it  is  inaccurately  translated 
as  "pilfered  goods." 

2  Harl.  MSS.  2009,  f.  45  (undated). 


the  bedells  to  arrest  all  offenders,  whether  of  high  or 
low  degree  of  guilt,  and  the  right  to  their  goods  became 
one  of  the  recognised  privileges  attached  to  the  Hundred 

Returning  after  this  digression  to  the  perquisites  of 
the  Court,  we  must  mention  the  estrays,  valuable  cattle 
and  horses  straying  into  or  found  wandering  in  the 
Hundred,  without  a  known  owner ;  after  due  proclama- 
tion by  the  bedells  in  markets  and  fairs  and  the  ex- 
piration of  a  year  and  a  day  without  being  claimed, 
they  would  be  forfeited  to  the  lord  of  the  Hundred. 
Further  revenue  would  come  from  the  stallage^  a  toll  of 
a  few  pence  collected  from  the  merchants  and  hucksters 
at  the  fairs  and  public  markets  in  the  Hundred ;  and 
from  the  deodands,  the  curious  forfeiture  (only  abolished 
in  1846),  of  personal  chattels  causing  accidental  death, 
such  as,  for  instance,  the  wheel  of  a  cart  which  had 
passed  over  a  man.1  In  addition  there  would  be  other 
sources  of  income  too  numerous  to  mention,  attaching  by 
custom  or  prescription  in  particular  Hundreds,  but  most 
of  those  which  occurred  in  Wirral  have  been  referred  to. 

From  the  year  1352  (when  the  series  of  Cheshire 
Sheriffs'  accounts  begin),  down  to  the  abolition  of  the 
court  in  1856,  it  has  been  possible  to  obtain  almost  a 
complete  record  of  the  persons  who  presided  either  in 

1  Emma  of  Tarvin  fell  by  accident  into  a  vessel  full  of  hot  water  and  died.  The 
vessel  was  forfeited  to  the  Grown.  Plac.  Coronae,  19  Ed.  I.  The  records  of  Capes- 
thorne  show  that  the  Davenports,  as  Serjeants  of  Macclesfield,  claimed  the  following 
deodands :  a  bell,  two  gravestones,  and  part  of  a  cart  wheel,  all  of  which  had 
caused  the  death  of  a  man.  Earwaker's  "  East  Cheshire,"  ii.  4. 


person  or  by  deputy  over  the  Hundred  Court  of  Wirral, 
and  a  list  of  the  bedells  and  farmers  of  the  Hundred, 
and  of  the  Sheriffs  approvers,  will  be  found  in  the 
Appendix.  From  1352  to  1506,  the  farms  (with  one 
exception)  were,  however,  taken  year  by  year,  and  it 
would  be  wearisome  to  refer  to  them  all.  A  few  will 
serve  as  examples,  and  then  it  will  be  sufficient  to  point 
out  any  interesting  or  unusual  features  arising  in  other 

From  1352  to  1372  the  revenue  of  the  Hundred  and 
Hundred  Court  falls  into  three  divisions,  each  of  which 
is  separately  accounted  for  by  the  Sheriff  in  his  annual 
accounts.  These  are:  (i)  the  issues  of  the  bedelry  ;  (2) 
the  profits  from  the  felons'  goods  (vaga] ;  and  (3)  the 
perquisites  and  amercements  of  the  Hundred  Court. 

(i)  The  issues  of  the  bedelry.  The  bedell  who  took 
his  office  to  farm  was,  we  find,  entitled  to  the  profits 
arising  from  certain  clearly  defined  sources.  In  the  first 
place,  he  took  one-half  of  the  perquisites  attached  to 
the  Hundred  Court,  and  also  one-half  of  the  fines  and 
amercements  inflicted  there.  The  nature  of  both  of 
these  has  already  been  indicated,1  Next,  he  was  entitled 
to  puture,  or  a  reasonable  money  composition  in  lieu 
thereof,  from  the  tenants  of  all  warlands  in  the  Hundred. 
These,  too,  we  have  dealt  with.2  Thirdly,  he  took  the 
fines  which  freemen  holding  by  charter  whose  lands 
and  tenements  did  not  exceed  forty  shillings  in  annual 

1  Ante,  page  30.  2  Ante,  page  18. 


value,  paid  to  avoid  the  obligation  which,  we  have  seen,1 
they  were  under  to  serve  the  jury  summonses  throughout 
the  Hundred.  These  fines  are  apparently  the  same  as  a 
payment  mentioned  later  on  in  the  accounts  as  "  freeman- 
silver."  Fourthly,  a  third  part  of  the  value  of  the 
" waifs."  This  seems  to  have  been  distinct  from  "pelf," 
and  was  probably  a  third  of  the  value  of  the  goods 
actually  received  by  the  Crown.  Lastly,  the  bedell  was 
entitled  to  a  fluctuating  perquisite  known  as  "  prison 
suit "  (suete  de  prisone).  This  was  the  name  for  certain 
fees  which  sheriffs,  bailiffs,  and  gaolers  were  accustomed 
to  extort  from  prisoners  and  from  persons  for  whose 
attachment  writs  had  been  issued.  The  former  paid  the 
money  for  some  relaxation  of  the  rigour  of  imprisonment 
(aise  de  prisone),  and  the  latter  to  avoid  arrest  or  the 
seizure  of  their  chattels  as  security  for  their  appearance 
before  the  Court,  and  to  be  allowed  to  find  bail.2  Many 
of  the  more  serious  offences  were  not  bailable  in  these 
days,  but  persons  arrested  for  misdemeanours,  trespasses, 
and  debt  were  lawfully  entitled  to  find  bail,  though  not 
without  paying  heavily  for  the  privilege.  It  was  there- 
fore to  the  interest  of  bailiffs  and  gaolers  to  encourage 

1  Ante,  page  26. 

2  The  expression,  "suete  de  prisone"  probably  survived  in  a  corrupted  form  in 
"sweeten   and  pinch,"  a  cant  term  used  in  the  seventeenth  century  by  bailiffs  to 
denote  the  process  of  squeezing-  money  out  of  their  prisoners  by  holding  out  hopes 
of  some  indulgence.     "A  main  part  of  [the  bailiffs]  office  is  to  swear  and  bluster  at 
their  trembling  prisoner  and  cry,  'Confound  us,  why  do  we  wait?  let  us  shop  him,' 
whilst  the  other  meekly  replies,   'Jack,  be  patient,  it   is  a  civil  gentleman,  and  I 
know  will  consider  us,'  which  species  of  wheedling,  in  terms  of  their  art,  is  called 
'  sweeten  and  pinch.'  "      "  Four  for  a  Penny  "  (1678),  Harl.  Miscell.  iv.  147. 


prosecutions  and  indictments  from  which  they  derived 
considerable  "prison  suit."  These  extortions  were  es- 
pecially prominent  at  the  date  when  the  Cheshire  records 
begin,  and  the  statute-book  of  the  fourteenth  century  is 
full  of  attempts  to  prohibit  them.1  The  warden  of  the 
Fleet  Prison  was  particularly  notorious  in  these  days 
for  the  way  in  which  he  allowed  prisoners  who  paid  him 
heavy  "suit"  to  go  at  large,  with  or  without  bail,  and 
to  remain  out  of  gaol  nights  and  days  without  the  consent 
of  the  prosecutor,  whose  efforts  to  bring  the  offender 
to  book  were  thus  nullified.  So  well  known  were  the 
advantages  of  the  Fleet,  that  debtors  cast  into  other 
gaols  would  confess  the  debt  in  order  to  be  removed 
to  a  prison  in  which  they  could  defy  the  unfortunate 

The  exaction  of  excessive  "prison  suit"  was  taken 
advantage  of  in  the  County  Palatine  by  malicious  persons 
to  harass  their  enemies.  In  1395,  we  find  the  burgesses 
and  commonalty  of  Flint  piteously  representing  to  King 
Richard  that,  owing  to  the  ill-will  of  the  Welsh,  they 
were  daily  pursued,  to  their  destruction  and  impoverish- 
ment, with  indictments  in  respect  of  which  they  were 
forced  to  pay  "prison  suit."  Their  petition  prayed  for 
relief,  and  that  they  should  be  allowed  to  find  bail 
according  to  the  law  of  England.  The  time  for  the 
total  abolition  of  "prison  suit"  had  not  yet  come,  but 

1  See  i  Ed.  III.  i.  7;  4  Ed.  III.  i.  10  ;  25  Ed.  III.  i.  6 ;  2  Hen.  IV.  c.  23.     The 
writer  knows  of  no  account  of  "  prison  suit "  in  any  other  work. 

2  i  Ric.  II.  c.  12. 


the  men  of  Flint  obtained  exemption  for  five  years  and 
an  order  to  the  Chamberlain  of  Chester  that  they  should 
be  allowed  bail  on  production  of  satisfactory  sureties.1 
Fifty  years  later,  payments  for  "prison  suit"  or  for 
ease  or  favour  of  any  kind  were  nominally  abolished, 
and  a  scale  of  fees  (which  included  a  paltry  fourpence, 
(equal  to  55.)  to  the  bailiff  making  an  arrest  or  attach- 
ment, and  a  similar  sum  for  a  bail  bond)  was  fixed.2 
The  warden  of  the  Fleet  was,  however,  exempted,  and 
doubtless  the  extortions  went  on  much  the  same  else- 
where. We  shall  see  later  that  the  efforts  of  sheriffs 
and  bailiffs  to  keep  up  their  fees  ultimately  (in  1461) 
killed  the  goose  from  which  they  had  received  so  many 
golden  eggs,  and  deprived  them  for  ever  of  the  right 
of  dealing  with  indicted  persons.3 

In  the  case  of  the  Hundreds  of  Cheshire,  the  "prison 
suit "  taken  by  the  lessees  seems  to  have  been  a  payment 
(apparently  reckoned  from  the  date  when  the  Sheriff's 
writ  of  attachment  was  received)  exacted  from  persons 
indicted  for  misdemeanours  for  allowing  them  to  remain 
at  large  and  their  property  unattached  until  the  next 
sitting  of  the  County  Court.4 

The  remainder  of  the  revenue  of  the  Hundred  Court 
came  from  :  (2)  The  profits  from  the  "waifs."  A  portion 
of  these  were  included  in  the  farms  of  the  bedelry,  but 
unless  the  bedell  chose  to  farm  the  whole  of  the  "waifs," 

i  C.  R.  R.  68,  m.  5,  d.  2  23  Hen.  VI.  c.  9.  3  Post,  page  61. 

4  See  App.  II.  No.  i.    The  passage  is  obscure. 


the  balance  was  collected  on  behalf  of  the  Crown.  And 
(3)  The  perquisites  and  amercements  of  the  Hundred. 
Here  again  the  half  not  taken  by  the  farmer  was 
separately  accounted  for.  We  shall  find,  however,  that 
in  almost  every  case  a  bedell  who  took  his  office  to 
farm  leased  the  right  to  all  of  these  three  classes  of 
profits,  though  separate  farms  of  each  were  in  fact  taken 
until  1372,  when  a  lump  sum  was  fixed  to  cover  the  farm 
of  the  whole  Hundred. 

The  first  year  for  which  the  Sheriffs  accounts  exist 
is  1352,  when  the  rent  of  the  bedelry  of  Wirral  was 
^"7,  i6s.  8d.,  whilst  the  amount  paid  for  the  "waifs"  and 
the  balance  of  the  perquisites  and  amercements  was 
133.  4d.  respectively,  a  total  of  ^"9,  35.  4d.  per  annum.1 
After  the  rent  of  the  bedelry  had  been  raised  for  three  years 
from  1355  to  £iQj  135.  4d.  (the  other  items  remaining  the 
same 2),  a  period  of  six  years  occurs  during  which  no  farmer 
came  forward,  and  the  actual  revenue,  which  fluctuated 
from  £$  odd  to  nearly  ^20,  was  collected  by  the  approvers 
on  behalf  of  the  Earl.3  One  of  these  officers,  Henry  Coly, 
apparently  guessed  the  moment  to  step  in,  and  from  1364 
to  1374  he  farms  the  Hundred  nearly  every  year.  At  first 
he  paid  £8  for  the  bedelry,  los.  for  the  "waifs,"  and  505. 
(a  considerable  increase  over  135.  4d.)  for  the  perquisites 
and  fines — a  total  rent  of  £11.  In  1370,  he  had  the  fore- 
sight to  decline  a  farm,  and  prudently,  inasmuch  as  the 
whole  revenue  of  the  Hundred  for  that  year  was  only 

1  M.  A.  784,  2.    App.  II.  No.  i.  2  M.  A.  784,  6,  7,  8.  8  M.  A.  785-6. 


;£io,  iSs.1  A  miserable  35.  was  all  the  " waifs"  pro- 
duced, "  prison  suit"  nothing  at  all,  while  we  may  guess 
that  335.  for  the  two  classes  of  fines  was  an  unusually 
small  return.  A  reduced  rent  of  ^7,  los.  was  consequently 
all  that  could  be  obtained  the  next  year  for  the  farm.2 

In  1372,  perhaps  to  make  it  more  attractive,  several 
apparently  new  perquisites  were  thrown  in,  and  obtained  a 
rental  of  £10  for  an  inclusive  farm  of  the  Hundred.  The 
new  items  were  the  serjeanty  of  the  peace,  carrying  with  it 
"pelf,"  as  well  no  doubt  as  other  customary  fees  due  to 
the  head  of  the  bedells,  stallage,  and  the  other  half  of  the 
perquisites  and  amercements  not  hitherto  included  in  the 
bedelry.3  From  1372  onwards  the  issues  of  the  Hundred 
are  all  covered  by  one  farm.  After  remaining  for  10  years 
at  .£10,  the  rent  drops  a  few  shillings  between  1383  and 
1390,  but  is  resumed  at  £10  again,  and  so  on  to  1399, 
when  it  falls  to  ^8,  or  ^"8,  IDS.,  until  the  year  1406.*  For 
the  next  eighteen  years  to  1423  ^8,  135.  4d.  is  paid,  and 
constitutes  the  high  water  mark  for  the  fifteenth  century, 
while  from  1424  to  1445,  ^7,  or  ^"8,  is  the  usual  figure.5 
The  change  that  then  occurs  will  be  referred  to  later  on. 

1  M.  A.  787,  2.  •  M.  A.  787,  4.  3  M.  A.  787,  5  (4). 

*  M.  A.  787-792.  8  M.  A.  792-796. 


THEIR   DUTIES,    1352-1402. 

Henry  de  Chorleton— Robert  de  Pulle— Henry  Coly— David  de  Stanay— Special 
Commissions  of  the  Peace — William  del  Broom — Lease  to  Henry  le  Bruynand 
Richard  de  Prestlond,  1391 — Estrays— De  Waley's  Lease— Outlawry — The 
Irish  rebellion — Massy  of  Puddington — Relief  of  sufferers  at  Radcote  Bridge 
— Conservators  of  the  Peace — Palatine  privileges  abused — Forestalling  in 
Wirral — Hue  and  cry. 

THERE  are  many  interesting  names  at  this  period  amongst 
the  list  of  officers  of  Wirral  set  out  in  the  Appendix,  but 
this  is  not  the  place  for  tracing  their  family  histories,  and 
a  few  only  will  be  from  time  to  time  referred  to  by  name 
to  illustrate  the  history  of  the  Hundred  Court.  A  name 
which  appears  in  1352  and  in  several  subsequent  years  is 
that  of  Henry  de  Chorleton.  He  was  no  doubt  a  Wirral 
man,  and,  besides  acting  as  bedell  or  approver,  he  was 
one  of  the  official  vendors  of  the  goods  of  felons,  for  which 
he  was  paid  an  annual  salary  of  jC^.1  Robert  de  Pulle,  a 
bedell  for  three  years  (1355-58)  was  a  member  of  the  Poole 
family  of  Wirral,  and  father  of  Sir  John  de  Pulle,  some- 
time governor  of  Carnarvon  Castle.  The  long  farm  of 

1  C.  R.  R.  30  &3i  Ed.  III.  m.  i.  This  record  also  contains  the  statement  that  the 
Serjeants  were  not  to  seize  more  than  a  quarter  of  the  corn  of  felons  forfeited  to  the 



Henry  Coly  has  already  been  referred  to.  He  was  one  of 
a  family,  resident  at  Thingwall  in  Wirral,  the  members  of 
which  took  prominent  part  in  all  local  events  at  this  and 
later  periods.  The  bedell  of  1381-83  was  David  de  Stanay. 
He  was  as  usual  also  bailiff  of  the  Hundred,  and  in  1384 
we  find  him  acknowledging,  as  "late"  bailiff,  at  the  Ex- 
chequer of  Chester,  a  debt  of  ^22,  95.  to  King  Richard  II. 
Five  others,  viz.  Robert  de  Bebynton,  Edmund  de  Cog- 
hull,  Richard  Waleys,  William  del  Broom,  and  Thomas 
Denys  joined  in  the  recognisance l  to  secure  the  debt. 
There  is  nothing  to  show  what  the  debt  was  for,  but 
doubtless  it  was  for  arrears  of  some  kind  of  revenue  or 
subsidy  unaccounted  for  to  the  Sheriff.  From  the  amount 
of  the  debt,  and  the  fact  that  he  is  referred  to  as  bailiff 
and  not  as  bedell,  it  probably  did  not  represent  rent  in 
arrear.  De  Stanay  was  no  doubt  a  member  of  the  family 
of  that  name  resident  at  Stoke  in  Wirral.2 

The  system  of  presentment  to  the  Hundred  Court  of 
breaches  of  the  peace  was  not  always  effective  in  keeping 
order,  and  frequent  special  commissions  had  to  be  issued. 
Thus  in  1386  Vivian  Foxwist  and  John  de  Tyldesleigh 
were  empowered3  to  arrest  all  malefactors  and  disturbers 
of  the  peace  in  the  Hundred  of  Wyrehale,  the  King 
having  heard  of  great  terror  caused  by  bands  of  armed 
men  there.  From  its  position  on  the  borders  of  Wales, 

1  C.  R.  R.  56,  m.  i  (2). 

2  He  occurs  in  several  recognisances,  temp,  Ric.  II.  and  Hen.  IV.,  relating  to  the 
farm  of  Stoke  Church. 

8  C.  R.  R.  9  &  10  Ric.  II.  m.  2  (8). 


Wirral  was  constantly  subject  to  invasion  by  the  turbulent 
Welsh  and  was  seldom  in  a  quiet  state.  A  few  years 
later,  in  1392,  special  commissioners  for  the  Hundred, 
in  the  persons  of  Sir  John  Massy  of  Puddington  and 
William  de  Hooton,  were  appointed  to  arrest  all  dis- 
turbers of  the  peace,  great  complaints  having  reached 
the  King  of  their  evil  doings.1 

We  find  the  bedells  and  bailiffs  of  1387  mentioned  in 
a  list2  of  moneys  received  by  Roger  de  Brescy,  one  of  the 
clerks  of  the  Exchequer  of  Chester,  on  account  of  King 
Richard  II.  Among  the  items  received  in  November 
from  the  Sheriff  of  Chester,  in  respect  of  the  issues  of  the 
county,  appears  a  sum  of  6s.  8d.  paid  on  account  of 
Nicholas  de  Tyttelegh,  by  the  bailiffs  of  the  Hundred  of 
Wirehall.  Further  down  the  roll,  and  apparently  for 
December  of  the  same  year,  8s.  appears  from  Richard  de 
Prestlond,  "one  of  the  bailiffs,"  and  the  same  amount  in 
January  1388  from  Henry  le  Bruyn  and  Richard  de  Prest- 
lond, the  two  bailiffs  of  the  Hundred  of  Wyrehall.  These 
payments  were  probably  instalments  of  revenue  paid  in 
advance  by  the  bailiffs.  In  March  1388  the  Sheriff 
accounts  for  ,£3,  6s.  8d.  through  the  hands  of  William  de 
Stanley,  "in  onere  "  of  the  bailiffs  of  the  Hundred. 

On  August  2,  1391,  a  recognisance 3  was  entered  into 
by  Margaret,  wife  of  William  del  Broom,  "late  bailiff  of 
the  Hundred  of  Wirehale"  (and  bedell  in  1387-90),  Henry 

1  C.  R.  R.  15  &  16  Ric.  II.  m.  8,  d.  7.  *  M.  A.  773  (3). 

3  C.  R.  R.  63,  m.  6,  5. 


Coly,  Robert  Baumvill,  John  del  Broom,  and  Roger  del 
Broom,  acknowledging  a  debt  to  the  King  of  ^3,  i6s.  6d., 
arrears  owing  by  the  bailiff  for  the  previous  year,  and  in 
exoneration  of  the  Sheriff  of  Chester,  Sir  John  de  Mascy, 
who  would  otherwise  have  been  responsible.  The  debt 
was  payable  in  two  instalments  of  265.  8d.  and  one  of 
235.  2d. 

So  far  we  have  obtained  our  information  as  to  the 
terms  upon  which  the  officers  of  the  Hundred  held  their 
position  from  the  Sheriff's  accounts,  but  a  little  more 
light  is  thrown  by  an  entry  on  the  Cheshire  Rolls  in  1391, 
which  constitutes  the  earliest  enrolment  we  have  of  a  lease 
of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral,  though  doubtless  all  the  annual 
farms  were  similarly  taken.  We  know  from  the  Sheriff's 
accounts  that  Henry  le  Bruyn  of  Moreton  in  Wirral  and 
Richard  de  Prestlond  farmed  the  Hundred  for  several 
years  between  1386  and  1396,  and  it  is  their  lease  of  1391 
which  for  some  reason  was  enrolled. l  That  the  rent  was 
;£io,  and  that  sureties  had  to  be  found,  is  all  we  get 
from  this  record,  and  it  is  fortunate  that  we  are  able 
to  supplement  it  by  the  information  contained  in  the 
Sheriff's  accounts.  We  shall  find  that  only  occasionally 
are  the  leases  enrolled,  although  they  are  generally  taken 
year  by  year.  It  is  difficult  to  say  why  certain  leases 
should  be  selected  for  enrolment  and  not  all. 

In  1395  le  Bruyn  and  de  Prestlond  seem  to  have  fallen 
into  arrear  with  their  rent,  as  in  November  1396  they 

1  C.  R.  R.  64,  m.  2,  d.  9.     App.  II.  No.  2. 


jointly  and  severally  acknowledge1  a  debt  to  the  King's 
exchequer  of  ^20,  probably  two  years'  rent.  In  the 
next  year  (1397)  a  new  bedell  was  appointed,  Thomas 
de  Waley  taking  a  formal  lease,2  before  the  Chamberlain 
and  the  Sheriff,  of  the  bedelry  for  one  year  from  Michael- 
mas, at  the  same  rent  of  £10  as  his  immediate  pre- 
decessors. The  late  bailiffs  and  bedells  were  still  in 
trouble  over  the  revenue  of  the  Hundred,  as  in  May  1397 
we  find  William  de  Stanley,  senior,  taking  on  his  shoulders 
a  debt  of  us.  owing  to  the  King,  in  exoneration  of  le 
Bruyn  and  de  Prestlond.3  The  object  of  this  recognisance 
was  to  secure  the  value  of  some  goods  of  one  Simon  del 
Twys  who  had  been  convicted  of  felony.  He  thus  became 
an  outlaw,  and  in  ancient  times  would  have  had  "caput 
lupinum  " — that  is,  he  might  have  been  knocked  on  the 
head  like  a  wolf,  by  any  one  that  should  meet  him,  "  be- 
cause having  renounced  all  laws  he  was  to  be  dealt  with 
as  in  a  state  of  nature,  when  every  one  that  should  find 
him  might  slay  him."  In  consequence  of  this  outlawry 
Twys'  goods  had  been  forfeited  to  the  King,  and  appa- 
rently the  bailiffs  had  sold  them  to  de  Stanley  without 
accounting  for  the  proceeds.  A  few  days  later  the  same 
bailiffs  acknowledged 4  the  large  debt  of  ,£64,  8s.  4^d.  in 
respect  of  their  term  of  office  during  the  Shrievalty  of 
Robert  le  Grosvenor,  who  had  been  Sheriff  in  1394  and 

1  C.  R.  R.  69,  m.  ii,  d.  5.      2  C.  R.  R.  70,  m.  4,  d.  8.       3  C.  R.  R.  70,  m.  5,  d.  9. 

1  C.  R.  R.  70,  m.  8  (2).  The  year  before  the  bailiff  of  the  Hundred  of  Nantwich  was 
similarly  bound  in  £68,  ^s.  o^d  (C.  R.  R.  18  &  19  Ric.  II.  m.  7,  d.  (3) )  and  the  bailiff 
of  Northwich  in  £22,  93.  g^d.  (C.  R.  R.  18  &  19  Ric.  II.  m.  7,  d.  (4) ). 


on  other  occasions.  The  money  was  payable  on  a  fixed 
date,  but  the  recognisance  was  to  be  void  if  de  Prestlond 
then  came  himself  and  paid  £$  on  account,  and  reasonable 
payments  were  made  from  time  to  time  at  the  Sheriff's 
return,  or  rent-day,  till  the  whole  debt  was  wiped  out  and 
the  liability  of  the  Sheriff  at  an  end.  The  amount  of  the 
debt  represented  an  extremely  large  sum  in  those  days, 
upwards  of  £600  of  our  money,  and  it  is  hard  to  say  how 
the  bailiffs  came  to  owe  it.  It  had  certainly  nothing  to  do 
with  the  farm  of  the  Hundred,  and  probably  was  arrears  of 
a  subsidy. 

The  jurisdiction  of  the  officers  of  the  Hundred  over 
the  perquisites  of  the  Crown  is  illustrated  by  a  recognis- 
ance1 in  1394,  whereby  John  de  Molynton  became  surety 
for  whatever  should  be  adjudged  to  the  King  on  account 
of  the  capture,  by  the  bailiffs  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral, 
of  some  "estrays,"  the  property  of  John  de  Waley  and 
William  Maykin.  These  were  probably  cattle  found 
wandering  and  impounded  until  the  true  owners  proved 
their  title  and  paid  a  fee  to  have  them  returned.  We 
have  seen  that  if  they  were  not  claimed  after  due  pro- 
clamation and  the  expiration  of  a  year  and  a  day  they 
would  be  forfeited  to  the  Crown. 

The  condition  of  Ireland,  at  this  time  in  a  state  of 
rebellion,  was  causing  much  anxiety  to  the  King.  Quanti- 
ties of  troops  were  being  despatched  to  subdue  the  in- 
surrection, and  sailors  were  being  whipped  up  in  the 

1  C.  R.  R.  67,  m.  2,  d.  (8). 


western  ports  of  England  to  man  the  ships  sailing  for 
Ireland.  Roger  Mortimer,  Earl  of  March,  the  King's 
cousin,  was  in  command  of  the  expedition,  and  the  ports 
of  Chester  and  Liverpool  were  full  of  ships  awaiting  their 
crews.  In  July  1397  the  bailiffs  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral 
were  directed l  by  letters  under  the  great  seal  to  arrest 
all  sailors  in  their  bailiwick,  and  convey  them  to  the  ships 
which  had  been  collected  at  Chester  and  Liverpool  for 
the  conveyance  of  Mortimer's  men,  horses,  and  armour. 
The  impressed  mariners  were  to  be  paid  reasonable 
wages,  and  any  one  resisting  was  to  be  imprisoned  in 
Chester  Castle.  Earlier  in  the  year  Sir  John  Massey 
of  Puddington,  with  his  son  Hamo  and  others,  had  been 
commanded2  to  seize  all  ships  of  10  tons  burthen  and 
upwards  which  they  could  find  between  Holyhead  and 
Furness,  and  to  bring  them  with  crews  to  the  ports 
of  Chester  and  Conway  for  the  passage  to  Ireland  of 
Mortimer's  retinue.  By  the  terms  of  the  letters  patent 
the  special  commissioners  were  empowered  to  enter  into 
"the  liberties"  of  the  county,  places  where  otherwise 
they  would  not  be  able  to  go  to  execute  the  royal  writs. 
One  of  the  bedells  of  Wirral  for  1398,  namely  Robert 
Baumvill,  and  several  subsequent  ones,  are  named  among 
a  body  of  twenty  commissioners3  who  were  entrusted  in 

1  C.  R.  R.  70,  m.  6,  5.  2  C.  R.  R.  70,  m.  6,  4. 

8  C.  R.  R.  22  &  23  Ric.  II.  m.  6  (5).  The  commissioners  were :  Sir  John  de 
Pulle,  Wm.  de  Stanley,  Thos.  del  Hog-h,  John  de  Lytherland,  John  de  Warewyk, 
Wm.  de  Tranemoele,  Gilbert  Glegg,  John  de  Bebynton,  Wm.  de  Meoles,  David  de 
Staney,  Wm.  de  Wilbram,  John  Coly,  Thos.  del  Lee,  Roger  Trull,  Robert  Hopkynsone, 
Richd.  le  Smyth,  Robt.  Baumvill,  Robt.  le  Clerc,  John  de  Holden  and  Wm.  Turfmos. 


that  year  with  the  distribution  in  the  Hundred  of  Wirral 
of  a  sum  of  ^411,  i6s.  8d.,  part  of  a  sum  of  4000  marks1 
sent  by  King  Richard  II.  out  of  his  treasury  at  West- 
minster for  the  relief  of  those  of  the  people  of  Cheshire 
who  suffered  in  the  King's  service  at  "  Redcote  brugge  " 
(Radcot  Bridge,  near  Bampton  in  Oxfordshire).  There, 
in  1388,  5000  of  the  Cheshire  men,  under  the  leadership 
of  Sir  Thomas  Molyneux,  constable  of  Chester  Castle, 
had  been  severely  defeated  by  the  Duke  of  Gloucester, 
the  King's  uncle,  the  Earl  of  Derby,  and  others,  whilst 
conducting  the  Duke  of  Ireland  to  the  King.  Sir  Thomas 
Molyneux  was  killed  by  Sir  Thomas  Mortimer,  and  many 
of  the  Cheshire  men  were  slain.2  The  distribution  of  this 
large  sum  was  attended  by  considerable  formality.  The 
Treasurer  of  England  and  the  King's  Sergeant-at-arms 
attended  in  Chester,  and  formally,  before  the  Chamberlain, 
the  Mayor,  and  the  Sheriffs  of  the  city,  delivered  3000 
marks,  part  of  the  grant,  1.0  the  Sheriff  of  the  county, 
who  in  his  turn  deposited  it,  pending  distribution,  with 
the  Abbot  and  Convent  of  Chester  for  safe  custody.3 
The  balance  of  1000  was  delivered  to  the  Sheriff,  pre- 

1  The  4000  marks  (£2666,  133.  4d.)  were  apportioned  among  the  Hundreds  as 
follows:  Eddisbury,  £356,  153.  4fd. ;  Macclesfield,  £709,  53.  i^d.  ;  Nantwich,  £183,  8s. 
xofd. ;  Northwich,  £218,  43.  7fd.  ;  Broxton,  £220,  23.  gjd.  ;  Bucklow,  £556,  igs.  lod. ; 
Wirral,  £41 1,  163.  8d.  (leaving  £10 unaccounted  for).  Dr.  Morris,  in  "Chester in  the 
Plantagenet  and  Tudor  Reigns,"  erroneously  states  3000  marks  were  distributed,  and 
apparently  thinks  the  people  of  the  "  City  "  of  Chester  received  them.  Mr.  Lumby,  in 
his  paper  on  "Chester  and  Liverpool  in  the  Patent  Rolls"  (Hist.  Soc.  of  L.  &  C. 
vol.  xix.-xx.  N.S.),  gives  the  amount  as  3000  marks  "gold."  Both  the  writers  over- 
look a  further  1000  marks  mentioned  lower  down  the  same  membrane  of  the  roll. 

*  Playfair,  "  Baronet,"  vol.  vi.  ;  Camden  Britt.  p.  285,  edn.  1590. 

•  C.  R.  R.  20  &  21  Ric.  II.  m.  7,  d.  (7)  &  (8)  &  (9). 


sumably  for  immediate  distribution,  together  with  a  bag 
containing  rolls,  petitions,  and  memoranda  for  the  guid- 
ance of  those  who  should  distribute  the  money.  The 
people  of  the  county  did  not  benefit  very  much  by  this 
royal  gift,  as  a  few  years  later  the  sum  of  3000  marks 
was  levied  upon  them  to  pay  for  a  general  pardon  to  all 
who  took  part  in  the  insurrection  of  Henry  Percy.1 

In  1399  the  disturbed  state  of  Cheshire,  consequent 
upon  the  conflict  between  Richard  II.  and  Henry  of 
Lancaster,  and  the  risings  in  Wales,  made  it  necessary 
for  Conservators  of  the  Peace  to  be  appointed  for  all 
the  Hundreds.2  These  Conservators  were  the  prede- 
cessors of  Justices  of  the  Peace,  and  to  their  appoint- 
ment may  partially  be  ascribed,  as  already  explained, 
the  decline  in  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Hundred  Courts. 
The  appointment  of  these  Conservators  was  made,  not  by 
the  King  or  by  the  people,  but  by  the  Prince  of  Wales,  to 
whom  the  County  Palatine  had  been  granted  a  few  years 
before  by  Richard  II.  when  he  created  it  a  principality.3 

It  is  worth  noting  in  passing  that  the  fact  that  writs 
and  process  issued  outside  the  County  Palatine  could  not 
be  executed  in  Cheshire  owing  to  the  palatine  privileges, 
was  found  about  this  date  to  be  productive  of  abuses. 

1  1403.  C.  R.  R.  4  &  5  Hen.  IV.  m.  3  (i)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5).     C.  P.  R.  5  Hen.  IV.  m.  6. 
1406.  C.  R.  R.  6  &  7  Hen.  IV.  m.  4  (i)-(7). 

2  C.  R.  R.  i  &  2  Hen.  IV.  m.  3,  d  (i).     Those  appointed  for  Wirral  were  :  Sir 
John  de  Pulle,  Wm.  de  Stanley,  Hamo  Mascy,  John  de  Whitmore,  Wm.  de  Tranmoll, 
Jas.  de  Pulle,  John  Litherland,  John  del  Meoles,  Thos.  de  Bolde,  John  de  Tildesley, 
Vivian  de  Foxwist  and  Gilbert  Glegg1. 

3  21  Ric.  II.  c.  9. 


"Grievous  clamour  and  complaint  "  arose  that  residents  in 
Cheshire  committed  felonies  and  trespasses  in  the  neigh- 
bouring counties  and,  by  escaping  back  into  their  county, 
evaded  punishment.  Accordingly,  at  the  commencement 
of  the  reign  of  Henry  IV.,  the  palatine  privileges  were  so 
far  relaxed  that  in  such  cases  process  of  outlawry  was 
allowed  to  issue  in  the  county  where  the  offence  was  com- 
mitted, and  then  was  certified  to  the  officials  of  Chester  by 
whom  the  offender  and  his  chattels  were  to  be  seized. 
After  enjoyment  of  the  latter  by  the  King  for  the  usual 
year  and  a  day,  they  were  to  be  forfeited  as  escheats  to 
the  "  Prince  of  Chester."1 

The  "good  men  and  true"  of  the  Hundred  jury 
were  specially  called  together  in  1402  in  pursuance  of 
letters  patent 2  issued  by  the  Prince  of  Wales.  An  ordin- 
ance relating  to  cattle  (probably  designed  to  secure  a 
supply  of  meat  for  the  King's  army  in  North  Wales)  had 
been  broken  by  Henry  le  Bruyn  of  Moreton  (a  former 
bedell),  John  de  Dokynton,  John  Hog,  Roger  del  Broom, 
and  others,  who  had  driven  some  beasts  out  of  Wales  into 
the  Hundred  in  contravention  of  the  ordinance.  A  jury  of 
the  Hundred  Court  was  summoned  to  ascertain  on  oath  the 
number  and  nature  of  the  cattle  ;  Sir  John  Mascy  of  Pud- 
dington,  with  Hamo  de  Mascy  and  Richard  de  Moston, 
were  commissioned  to  seize  them,  and  to  arrest  the  offenders 
and  bring  them  up  to  Chester  Castle  for  judgment. 

1  i  Hen.  IV.  c.  18.     Reeve's  "History  of  England,"  1787,  iii.  241. 

2  C.  R.  R.  2  &  3  Hen.  IV.  m.  n  (u). 


In  those  days  it  was  an  offence  to  corner,  or  attempt  to 
control,  the  markets  for  merchandise,  corn,  and  grain,  and 
persons  were  presentable  in  the  Hundred  Courts  for  "fore- 
stalling," as  it  was  called.  Other  offences  of  the  same 
kind  were,  "  regrating,"  or  buying  corn  in  a  market  and 
selling  it  again  in  or  near  the  same  place  at  enhanced 
prices,  and  "ingrossing, "  buying  up  large  quantities  of 
grain  with  intention  of  holding  for  later  sale  at  a  profit. 
There  does  not  seem  anything  very  criminal  in  these  days 
about  such  operations,  but  owing  to  the  scarcity  and  high 
price  of  corn,  it  was  considered  desirable  to  prevent  them, 
and  to  restrict  the  export  of  grain.  The  jurisdiction  of 
the  Hundred  Court  over  these  offences,  however,  did  not 
prove  effective  in  Wirral,  and  in  the  year  1401  we  find  Sir 
John  de  Pulle,  William  de  Stanley,  junior,  and  John  de 
Lytherland,  appointed  commissioners  by  Henry  Prince  of 
Wales  to  inquire  into  the  conduct  of  the  ingrossers  and 
regrators  in  the  Hundred,  who  bought  up  and  hoarded 
grain  for  sale  in  foreign  parts  to  the  injury  of  the  poor 
of  the  Hundred.  The  commissioners  were  ordered  to 
cause  all  the  hoarded  grain  to  be  brought  into  the  nearest 
market  and  sold  at  a  reasonable  price,  and  to  prevent 
any  exportation  out  of  the  Hundred.1 

Although  we  do  not  hear  about  it,  the  Hundred  Court 
of  Wirral  must  frequently  have  had  to  deal  with  offenders 
against  the  statutes  of  Hue  and  Cry,  in  which  the  original 

1  C.  R.  R.  2  &  3  Hen.  IV.  m,  3,  d.  (8).     Many  subsequent  commissions  of  the  same 
kind  occur. 


system  under  which  the  inhabitants  of  a  Hundred  were 
collectively  responsible  one  for  another  survived.  Under 
these  provisions,  originating  in  the  time  of  the  Edwards,1 
the  Hundred  where  a  robbery  took  place  was  liable,  in 
default  of  the  capture  of  the  robber,  to  compensate  the 
person  robbed,  and  also  to  pay  for  damage  caused  by 
rioters.  A  false  alarm  or  any  slackness  in  rendering  assist- 
ance in  the  Hue  and  Cry  was  punishable  in  the  Court. 
During  the  sixteenth  century,  it  was  found  that  those  who 
were  robbed,  having  an  easy  remedy  against  the  Hundred, 
lost  the  incentive  to  pursue  the  robber,  and  that  he  fre- 
quently escaped  because  the  neighbouring  Hundreds  (which 
were  not  responsible),  became  slack  in  their  Hue  and  Cry. 
It  became  necessary  to  bind  over  every  person  robbed  to 
prosecute,  and  to  stimulate  the  energy  of  the  neighbouring 
Hundreds  by  making  them  liable  to  pay  half  the  damages 
in  default  of  the  arrest  of  the  offender.2  In  later  times 
the  Hundred  had  to  be  protected  against  false  claims  by 
stringent  provisions  as  to  notice  and  advertisement,  and  a 
standing  reward  of  ^10  for  the  apprehension  of  robbers 
was  instituted.3  That  bogus  claims  against  the  Hundreds 
for  heavy  sums  were  made,  is  apparent  by  the  fact  that  a 
law  was  passed  to  provide  that  no  one  could  recover 
more  than  ^200  from  a  Hundred  unless  he  had  a  com- 
panion with  him  at  the  time  of  the  robbery  to  attest  to 
the  truth  of  his  story.4  The  puritans  turned  this  liability 

*  13  Ed.  I.  st.  2,  c.  i  and  2',  28  Ed.  III.  c.  u.  2  27  Eliz.  c.  13. 

»  8  Geo.  II.  c.  16.  4  22  Geo.  II.  c.  24. 


of  the  Hundred  to  their  own  account  when  they  denied  to 
persons  travelling  on  Sundays  any  remedy  against  the 
Hundred  for  a  robbery  committed  on  that  day,  unless 
it  occurred  on  the  way  to  or  from  church.1 

Early  in  last  century  the  Hundreds  were  freed  from 
liability  in  respect  of  robberies,  but  their  responsibility  for 
damage  by  rioters  continued  in  a  modified  form  until  the 
year  1886,  when  the  police  rate  was  saddled  with  the 
payment  of  compensation. 

1  29  Car.  II.  c.  7. 


THE   HUNDRED   OF   WIRRAL,    1403-1509 

Owen  Glendower — Lease  to  de  Saynesbury  and  de  Brumburgh,  1403 — Henry 
Coly — False  rumours  in  Wirral — Various  bedells — No  revenue  in  1411 — 
Justices  itinerant  for  Wirral,  1429 — Sir  Thomas  Stanley's  lease,  1445 — Abuse 
of  the  Sheriff's  Turn — Gleggs  of  Gayton — Effects  of  civil  wars — Resumption 
of  leases,  1475 — Reduction  of  rent — Robert  Trafford's  lease,  1507 — Ithell  and 
Bebynton's  lease,  1509. 

THE  revolt  of  Owen  Glendower  was  naturally  a  most  dis- 
turbing" influence  throughout  Cheshire,  and  for  some  years 
the  men  of  the  county  were  constantly  engaged  in  repel- 
ling the  invasions  of  the  Welsh.  The  records  are  full  of 
writs  commanding  every  one  holding  possessions  on  the 
marches  to  hasten  home  and  make  defence.  Among  the 
duties  thrown  upon  the  officers  of  the  Hundreds  on  the 
marches  was  that  of  preventing  the  Welsh  getting  supplies. 
In  June  of  1403  the  Prince  of  Wales  ordered  the  bailiffs 
of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral  to  prohibit  the  sale  of  grain  or 
provisions  by  the  men  of  Wirral  to  Welshmen  of  the  county 
of  Flint  or  other  parts  of  Wales.  The  reason  for  this  was 
that  the  Prince  had  heard  that  many  men  of  the  Hundred 
were  in  the  habit  of  furnishing  the  men  of  Flint  and  of 
the  townships  of  Denbigh,  Denfrencluyt  (Dyffryn-clwyd), 

Hawarden,  and  Hopedale  with  supplies,  and  they  in  their 


THE   HUNDRED   OF  WIRRAL,    1403-1509       53 

turn  sold  them  to  the  Welsh  rebels.1  Commissioners  were 
also  appointed  to  seize  all  the  grain,  &c.,  in  the  Hundred 
which  had  been  sold  to  the  Welsh,  who,  the  Prince  had 
heard,  entered  the  Hundred  by  night  and  day  by  certain 
fords  ''ultra  aquam  de  Dee"  and  carried  thence  a  great 
quantity  of  grain  for  the  support  of  the  rebels,  contrary 
to  proclamation.2 

In  the  autumn  of  1403,  it  again  became  necessary,  in 
view  of  the  near  approach  of  Owen  Glendower,  who  was 
reported  in  the  marches  of  the  county,  to  appoint  special 
conservators  and  guardians  for  the  Hundred  of  Wirral. 
The  names  of  John  de  Pulle,  William  de  Stanley,  John 
Lytherland,  and  John  de  Meoles  appear  in  the  writ.  They 
were  instructed  to  appoint  watches,  and  to  make  hedges, 
ditches,  and  other  impediments  on  the  sea  coast  of  Flint 
to  repel  the  invaders.3  Another  step  taken  was  to  appoint 
Hamo  de  Mascy  of  Puddington  and  others  as  keepers  of 
the  passes  between  the  city  of  Chester  and  "  Hazelwall  " 
to  prevent  traffic  with  the  rebels.4 

The  enrolment  of  the  bedelry  leases  was,  as  we  know, 
very  spasmodic,  but  we  find  the  one  for  1403  to  John  de 
Saynesbury  and  Hugh  de  Brumburgh  upon  the  rolls.  This, 
it  is  recited,  they  took  in  their  own  names,  and  were  entitled 
to  "all  issues  and  profits  of  the  office."  5  The  lease,  as  we 
know,  was  for  one  year  and  the  rent  was  now  ^8,  payable 

1  C.  R.  R.  3  &  4  Hen.  IV.  m.  10  (7).  2  C.  R.  R.  3  &  4  Hen.  IV.  m.  8,  d.  (8). 

3  C.  R.  R.  3  &  4  Hen.  IV.  m.  10,  d.  (6). 

4  C.  R.  R.  4  &  5  Hen.  IV.  m.  7,  d.  (8)  and  (9).  B  C.  R.  R.  76,  m.  13  (11). 


to  the  Earl  of  Chester.  The  lessees  appear  at  the  time 
to  have  been  in  arrears  with  their  accounts  as  bailiffs  to 
the  Sheriff,  and  shortly  after  taking  the  lease  they  had 
to  obtain  two  sureties  in  the  persons  of  Henry  Coly  and 
Gilbert  Glegg  to  guarantee  that  they  met  their  liabilities 
in  respect  of  their  previous  term  of  office,  so  as  to  exoner- 
ate the  late  Sheriff,  Henry  de  Ravenscroft.1  Henry  Coly 
himself  was  joint  bedell  with  Thomas  Coly  in  1405, 
and  doubtless  also  bailiff,  as  in  1406  we  find  the  latter 
joined  with  Thomas  de  Waley,  John  de  Whitemore,  and 
Richard  Coley  in  a  recognisance 2  to  Henry  Prince  of 
Wales  and  Earl  of  Chester  for  ^"9,  195.  3d.  arrears  of 
Henry  Coly  when  he  was  bailiff. 

So  far  as  we  can  gather,  the  bedells  never  had  much 
difficulty  in  paying  their  rents,  but  from  the  constant  re- 
cognisances entered  into  by  the  bailiffs,  it  would  seem  that 
they  found  great  difficulty  in  collecting  that  part  of  the 
revenue  for  which  they  were  responsible,  and  no  doubt 
the  disturbed  and  deteriorating  state  of  this  part  of  the 
county  had  much  to  do  with  their  troubles. 

The  two  bedells  for  1403,  Thomas  de  Maynwaryng 
and  Roger  Trull,  were  appointed  commissioners  to  collect 
a  subsidy  in  Wirral  in  that  year,  but  doubtless  this  was 
in  consequence  of  their  being  also  bailiffs  of  the  Hundred.3 
Early  in  1404,  a  jury  of  the  Hundred  was  ordered  to  be 
impanelled  for  an  unusual  object.  False  rumours  (probably 

1  C.  R.  R.  77,  m.  i  (10).  *  C.  R.  R.  78,  m.  6,  d.  (i). 

3  C.  R.  R.  3  &  4  Hen.  IV.  m.  7  (4). 

THE   HUNDRED  OF   WIRRAL,    1403-1509        55 

relating  to  the  Welsh  rebellion)  were  being  spread  about 
in  Cheshire,  and  malicious  letters  circulated  by  mes- 
sengers and  runners,  which  the  Earl  of  Chester  con- 
sidered constituted  a  national  danger  and  caused  great 
disquiet  in  the  county.  He  therefore  issued  a  commission l 
to  each  Hundred  to  inquire  into  the  matter.  The  com- 
missioners for  Wirral  were  Sir  John  de  Pulle,  Sir  William 
de  Stanley,  Hamo  de  Mascy,  Vivian  Foxwist,  James  de 
Pull,  and  John  de  Meoles.  The  bailiffs  of  the  Hundred 
were  ordered  to  impanel  before  them  the  jury  of  the 
Hundred,  by  whose  oath  the  disseminators  of  false  news 
were  to  be  discovered  and  then  arrested.  It  would  be 
interesting  to  know  whether  they  were  punished  under  the 
law  of  Edward  I.,  which  prescribed  imprisonment  until  the 
first  author  of  the  false  rumour  was  brought  into  Court, 
a  punishment  which  might  sometimes,  one  would  think, 
involve  perpetual  incarceration.  A  report  under  seal  upon 
the  matter  was  to  be  made  to  the  King  and  council,  and 
all  officers  of  the  county  were  enjoined  to  assist  in  the 
inquiry.  The  same  writ  ordered  the  commissioners  to 
array  the  fencible  men  of  the  Hundred,  and  to  attend 
before  the  Sheriff  at  "Topplegh"  to  hear  what  should 
then  be  expounded  to  them.  We  are  left  in  ignorance 
of  the  nature  of  the  exposition. 

One  of  the  bedells  for  1406  bears  a  well-known  name. 
John  Rathbone  doubtless  came  from  Tushingham  in 
the  neighbouring  Hundred  of  Broxton.  His  companion, 

1  C.  R.  R.  77,  m.  4,  d.  (2). 


John  Goodfellow,  had  served  the  King  in  Ireland  and 
elsewhere  with  distinction,  and  as  a  reward  obtained  a 
grant  for  life  of  a  place  in  Wirral  called  "  Rideresplace," 
together  with  the  custody  of  Salghale  wood.1  John  le 
Barker  of  Wallasey,  bedell  in  1408,  was  perhaps  origi- 
nally a  Wrexham  man.  We  find  him  coming  in  from 
thence  to  Chester  in  1404,  with  one  Matthew  le  Cornifer, 
because  they  were  unwilling  to  join  the  rebels.  Their 
loyalty  was  cruelly  doubted,  and  both  had  formally  to 
do  fealty  to  the  Earl  and  find  a  surety.2 

The  regularity  in  the  payment  of  the  rent  for  the 
Hundred  was  broken,  for  some  unknown  reason,  in  1411, 
and  the  Sheriffs  accounts  show  that  from  March  of  that 
year  to  January  14,  1412,  there  were  no  receipts,  so 
far  as  he  was  concerned,  from  any  of  the  farms  of  the 
Cheshire  Hundreds,  and  the  profits  from  felon's  goods 
and  prison  suit  are  entered  as  nil.3  But  the  diversion 
of  the  revenue  was  only  temporary,  and  the  farms  were 
resumed  next  year.  One  of  the  bedells  of  Wirral  for 
1412  was  William  Hare.  This  was  possibly  the  King- 
sley  man  who,  a  few  years  before,  had  been  granted 
for  life  the  office  of  vendor  of  the  bark  and  timber 
blown  down  in  the  forest  of  Mara,  with  one  penny  a 
day  as  wages.4 

Thomas   Broune,    who  shared  the  farm   of  Wirral   in 

1  C.  R.  R.  i  &  2  Hen.  IV.  m.  i,  d.  8.  2  C.  R.  R.  4  &  5  Hen.  IV.  m.  6,  d.  (10). 

3  M.  A.  792,  9,  and  793.     In  1413  £175,   135.  7jd.  was  derived  from  fines  and 
ransoms  arising  out  of  pleas  in  the  County  Court. 

4  C.  R.  R.  4  &  5  Hen.  IV.  m.  5  (5)  (6). 

THE   HUNDRED   OF   WIRRAL,    1403-1509        57 

1415,  seems  to  have  been  a  Wallasey  yeoman  who 
subsequently  went  to  serve  King  Henry  V.  in  France, 
for  which  he  was  granted  protection,1  whilst  Thomas 
Holden,  bedell  in  1417  with  Henry  Waley,  held  the 
royal  office  of  Master  Mason  in  Cheshire  and  Flint, 
during  the  King's  pleasure.2 

One  of  the  bedells  for  1424-26,  John  Jevansone,  is 
mentioned,  in  his  capacity  of  a  bailiff  for  Wirral,  in  a 
commission  to  the  Sheriff,  the  under  Sheriff,  the  escheator, 
Roger  Holes,  the  coroner  for  Wirral,  and  the  other  bailiffs 
and  coroners  of  the  Hundreds,  to  arrest  a  band  of  dis- 
turbers of  the  peace  headed  by  some  of  the  Venables  and 
Cholmondeley  families.3 

So  far,  although  no  doubt  the  justices  itinerant,  upon 
whom  devolved  so  much  of  the  ancient  jurisdiction  of 
the  Hundred  Court,  had  perambulated  Wirral,  we  have 
only  general  mention  of  their  appointment  for  the  County. 
In  September  1429,  however,  it  is  recorded4  that  William 
Chauntrell  and  Richard  Bolde  were  commissioned  as 
justices  (hac  vice]  for  the  Eyre  to  be  held  in  the 
Hundreds  of  Wirral  and  Broxton.  The  Court  for  the 
former  was  often  held  at  Eastham  or  Backford.  The 
officers  of  the  Hundred  were  bound  to  attend  the  Eyre, 
and  originally  had  the  duty  of  choosing  four  prominent 
knights  of  the  Hundred,  who  in  their  turn  selected 
twelve  other  knights  or  freemen  to  act  as  jurors  of  the 

i  C.  R.  R.  5  &  6  Hen.  V.  m.  2,  d.  (6).  2  C.  R.  R.  2  &  3  Hen.  V.  m.  2  (2). 

3  C.  R.  R.  97,  m.  2  (10).  «  C.  R.  R.  7  &  8  Hen.  VI.  m.  3  (3). 


Eyre  and  present  offences  to  the  Justices  of  Assize. 
Later  on,  the  duty  of  presenting  indictments  devolved 
on  the  Grand  Inquest  or  jury  of  the  county,  and  the 
men  of  the  Hundred  were  only  summoned  to  the  Eyre 
to  act  as  common  jurors  in  the  decision  of  cases.  The 
lessees  and  bailiffs  of  the  Hundreds  were  also  bound 
to  attend  the  sittings  of  quarter  sessions  and  of  the 
Sheriffs  County  Court,  and  there  are  many  instances 
of  their  being  summoned  to  the  latter  with  the  other 
officers  of  the  county. 

Although  it  is  not  quite  clear  whether  its  application 
was  confined  to  Cheshire,  the  following  article  to  which 
the  Chamberlain  and  Vice-Chamberlain  of  Chester  had 
to  swear  the  men  of  the  county  (probably  at  the  Hundred 
Court)  in  1434,  gives  an  indication  of  the  disturbed  and 
lawless  condition  of  the  county  in  these  times  : — 

"  Yat  no  lorde  nor  none  other  p'sone,  of  what 
astate,  degree,  or  condic'on  yat  he  shall  be,  wetyngly 
resceyve,  cherissh,  holde  in  housald,  ne  mayntene,  pilours, 
robburs,  opp'ssours  of  people,  mansleers,  felouns,  out- 
lawes,  ravyssheres  of  women  ayenst  ye  lawe,  unlawefull 
hunters  of  forestes,  parkes,  or  warennes,  or  any  other 
opyn  misdoers,  or  any  openly  named  or  famed  for  such, 
till  his  innocence  be  declared.  And  yat  neether  be 
colour  or  occasion  of  feffement  or  of  yeft  of  goode 
moeble  passed  be  dede  noe  oder  wyse  any  of  the  said 
lordes  ne  non  other  shall  take  any  other  mennes  cause 

THE   HUNDRED   OF   WIRRAL,    1403-1509        59 

or  quarell,  in  favour,  supportacion,  or  mayntenaunce  as 
be  worde,  be  wryting,  nor  be  message  to  officer,  jugge, 
jurre,  or  to  partie  or  be  yeft  of  his  clothyng,  or  livere, 
or  takyng  in  to  his  s'vice  the  partie,  nor  conceyve 
agayne  any  jugge  or  officer  indignacion  or  displeceaunce 
for  doing  of  his  office  in  fourme  of  lawe.  And  yat  ye 
shall  kape  yis  not  all  only  in  her  awein  p'sones,  but 
yat  ye  see  yat  all  oder  in  her  counttrees  as  mich  as  in 
hem  is,  and  thair  s'vants,  and  all  other  such  as  be 
under  hem  of  lesse  estate  do  the  same.  And  yf  thai 
do  the  conntarie  make  hem  withouten  delay  leve  hit  or 
elles  put  hem  a  way  fro  hem."1 

Thus  it  is  not  surprising  to  find  that  John  de  Saynes- 
bury  and  William  Fairrie,  the  bedells  and  bailiffs  of 
Wirral  on  several  occasions  between  1427  and  1437, 
were  unable  to  collect  the  revenue  of  the  Hundred. 
Immense  sums  of  money  were  in  arrear,  and  to  enable 
it  to  be  collected  a  special  commission 2  was  issued 
in  1437  under  which  they,  and  the  then  bailiffs  of  the 
Hundred,  were  empowered  to  get  in  the  arrears  with 
despatch  from  all  debtors  who  were  unable  to  produce 
receipts  or  tallies,  or  by  some  other  means  to  prove 
that  they  had  discharged  their  debts.  Numerous  other 
instances  of  the  duties  and  responsibilities  of  the  officers 
of  Wirral  are  to  be  found  on  the  rolls,  but  probably 
they  have  been  sufficiently  indicated  for  this  period. 

1  C.  R.  R.  12  &  13  Hen.  VI.  in.  9,  d.  (2).  a  C.  R.  R.  109,  m.  3  (16). 


In  October  1445  a  lease1  of  the  combined  office  of 
bailiff  and  bedell  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral,  with  all 
issues  and  profits  of  the  Sheriff's  "Tourn,"  and  other 
perquisites  (not  mentioned  in  detail)  was  granted  to  Sir 
Thomas  Stanley,  knight,  Geoffrey  Starkey  of  North- 
wich  and  Robert  More.  The  lease  is  noteworthy,  inas- 
much as  it  was  for  twenty  years,  whereas  up  to  now  the 
leases  had  been  annual.  The  rent  was  reduced  to  £7 
per  annum,  and  never  again  approached  anything  like 
that  amount.  The  same  parties  at  the  same  time  took 
a  similar  lease2  in  respect  of  the  Hundred  of  Eddisbury, 
the  rent  in  this  case  being  ^8. 

This  Stanley  was  Sir  Thomas  Stanley  of  Liverpool, 
who  held  many  important  offices  during  his  life.  He  was 
a  judge  of  the  Palatine  Court,  and  was  subsequently  Lord- 
Lieutenant  of  Ireland,  Comptroller  of  the  Household  and 
Chamberlain  to  Henry  VI.  He  was  created  a  K.G.  and 
Baron  Stanley  in  1456,  and  died  in  1459.  Starkey  was  a 
member  of  a  branch  of  the  important  Cheshire  family  of 
that  name  resident  at  Northwich,  whilst  More  was  one 
of  the  great  Liverpool  family  and  had  been  Mayor  of  that 
town  on  several  occasions. 

It  will  be  seen  that,  in  addition  to  the  fees  derived 
from  the  ordinary  sittings  of  the  Hundred  Court,  the 
lessees  took  the  profits  of  the  Sheriff's  Turn,  i.e.  the  fines 
and  fees  of  the  great  Leet  held  twice  a  year  by  the  Sheriff, 
to  whom,  as  the  King's  representative,  the  fees  of  the  day 

i  C.  R.  R.  119,  m.  6,  n.    App.  II.  No.  5.  2  C.  R.  R.  119,  m.  6,  10. 

THE   HUNDRED   OF  WIRRAL,    1403-1509        61 

would  in  the  ordinary  way  go.  Probably,  however,  these 
profits  had  long  formed  part  of  the  farm  of  the  Hundred, 
although  not  specifically  mentioned.  The  bedells  did  not 
enjoy  them  much  longer.  The  increased  jurisdiction  of 
justices  of  the  peace  had  caused  the  Turn  to  be  less  and 
less  resorted  to  ;  and,  to  regain  their  lost  business  and  fees, 
Sheriffs  of  counties  and  their  underlings,  the  bailiffs  and 
bedells,  began  to  present  improper  and  fictitious  indict- 
ments at  the  Turn,  and  to  get  them  affirmed  by  venal 
jurors,  "persons  of  no  substance,  nor  behaviour,  nor 
dreading  God,  nor  the  World's  shame."  The  result  was 
that  many  persons  were  illegally  fined  and  convicted,  and 
then,  by  withdrawal  or  destruction  of  the  indictment,  the 
right  of  an  appeal  was  frustrated.  This  procedure  resulted 
practically  in  the  destruction  of  the  Turn,  as  in  1461  an 
Act1  was  passed  which  took  away  the  power  of  hearing 
and  determining  indictments  and  transferred  it  to  the 
justices  in  quarter  sessions.  The  Turn  itself  existed  in 
point  of  form  until  the  year  1887. 2 

About  this  time  the  bailiffs  came  in  contact  with  a 
member  of  a  family  which  has  played  a  large  part  in  the 
history  of  Wirral.  The  Gleggs  of  Gayton  had  sided  with 
the  house  of  York  in  the  great  struggle  with  Henry  VI., 
and  in  1460  had  seized  at  Gayton  money  and  jewels 
belonging  to  the  King  to  the  value  of  20,000  marks. 
As  they  forcibly  resisted  every  attempt  to  recover  the 

1  i  Ed.  IV.  c.  2.     See  also  i  Ric.  III.  c.  4. 

a  Sheriffs'  Act,  1887. 


valuables,  a  commission  l  to  arrest  them  was  issued.  It 
was  directed  to  the  Sheriff,  the  bailiffs  of  Wirral,  and 
to  William  Stanley,  two  of  the  Pooles,  Thomas  Mascy 
of  Puddington,  and  William  Whitmore,  and  enjoined 
the  seizure  and  production  at  Chester  Castle  of  Thomas 
and  John  Glegg,  John  Brumburgh,  and  William  Knysty, 
together  with  the  stolen  jewels.  Mortimer  states2  that 
Thomas  Glegg  was  imprisoned  until  1469,  but  appar- 
ently he  was  free  in  I463,3  although  it  was  not  till  1469 
that  he  was  pardoned4  by  Edward  IV.  in  the  usual  por- 
tentous document,  apparently  prepared  on  the  principle 
of  enumerating  all  possible  offences  that  a  human  being 
could  commit  and  then  forgiving  any  of  them  the  offender 
might  have  committed. 

The  lease  of  1445  seems  to  have  lapsed  in  1459. 
Perhaps  the  death  of  Lord  Stanley  had  something  to 
do  with  this.  But  more  probably  it  was  one  of  the 
effects  of  the  disastrous  battle  of  Bloreheath,  when  the 
men  of  Cheshire  were  divided  against  themselves.  It  is 
commonly  stated  that  the  Wars  of  the  Roses  had  little 
or  no  effect  upon  the  judicial  organisation  and  com- 
mercial progress  of  the  country.  This  was  certainly  not 
the  case  in  Cheshire,  where  for  the  first  fifteen  years  of 
the  war  the  judicial  system  of  the  county  seems  to  have 
been  nearly  at  a  standstill.  Practically  no  revenue  was 

1  C.  R.  R.  133,  m.  6,  3.  »  "  History  of  Wirral,"  p.  236. 

•  C.  R.  R.  2  &  3  Ed.  IV.  m.  2,  d.  (12) ;  4  &  5  Ed.  IV.  m.  9  (4) ;  5  &  6  Ed.  IV. 
m.  3  (5). 

*  C.  R.  R.  141,  m.  9  (2). 

THE   HUNDRED   OF   WIRRAL,    1403-1509        63 

collected  from  the  Hundreds1  and  as  regards  Wirral,  what 
revenue  could  be  got  in  was  returned  by  "approvers,"  as 
no  one  would  come  forward  to  take  a  farm.  For  the  two 
years  1460-2,  the  issues  which  had  been  let  to  Sir  Thomas 
Stanley  and  others  for  £j  only  returned  an  aggregate 
of  305.  Indeed,  a  pound  or  two  is  all  that  conies  in  from 
Wirral  for  the  next  ten  years  or  so.  In  1467,  the  Sheriff 
returns  no  revenue,  because  he  states  that  Edmund  Lither- 
land,  the  bailiff  of  Wirral,  took  it  himself.  Litherland 
does  not  appear  to  have  accounted  for  these  items,  as 
in  the  following  year  the  Sheriff  is  charged  with  305.  in 
respect  of  the  two  years'  income,  and  again  in  1469  with 
2os.  8d.  This  Litherland  was,  it  may  be  mentioned,  a 
difficult  person  to  deal  with,  and  appears  annually  on  the 
Recognisance  Rolls  from  1463  to  1476  as  being  bound 
over,  under  the  suretyship  of  other  Wirral  men,  to  keep 
the  peace  towards  Richard,  Abbot  of  St.  Werburgh, 
another  firebrand  who  had  suffered  imprisonment  in 
Chester  Castle  for  altering  the  city  boundaries,  and  took 
an  active  local  part  in  the  civil  war. 

The  re-establishment  of  law  and  order  in  Cheshire  was 

1  The  Sheriff's  accounts  also  record  that  nothing  was  received  in  the  Hundreds 
from  the  following-  items  which,  in  former  years,  appear  to  have  been  regular  sources 
of  income  : — The  fines  of  judgers  and  suitors,  the  profits  of  the  Tourns,  "  fines 
panellorum,"  prison  suit,  sheriff's  aid  (auxilium  -vicecomitis),  treasure  trove,  "securitas 
pacis,"  recognisances,  "fines  atterminati"  (fines  for  the  payment  of  which  time  had 
been  given),  wreck,  "fines  pro  denariis  levandi,"  "exitus  aut  amerciamenta  foris- 
facta  coram  Camerariis,  et  auditoribus  Regis  Cestrie "  and  "  freeman-silver."  A 
certain  amount  of  revenue,  amounting,  however,  only  to  £54,  143.  8d.  for  the  whole 
county,  was  accounted  for  in  respect  of  the  estreats  of  the  justices  and  included 
£7,  i8s.  6d.  from  fines  inflicted  before  the  justices  in  Eyre  at  Backford  and  elsewhere. 


gradual,  and  it  was  not  until  1475  that  any  one  could  be 
induced  again  to  lease  the  Hundred.  William  Knysty 
and  Roger  Hole  (both  of  whom  we  have  met  before)  then 
came  forward  to  do  so,  but  on  very  different  conditions. 
The  civil  war  had  broken  the  county ;  the  silting  up  of 
the  Dee  had  practically  driven  away  the  coasting  trade 
so  long  enjoyed  by  the  port  of  Chester,  and  at  Burton, 
Denhall,  and  Neston  along  the  coasts  of  Wirral ;  the  con- 
sequent loss  of  trade  with  Wales  and  Ireland  had  caused 
the  already  depleted  population  to  move  to  other  and  more 
prosperous  places,  thus  reducing  the  number  of  people  to 
do  suit  and  service  at  the  Hundred  Court.  The  profits  of 
the  Sheriffs  Turn  were  practically  gone,  and  there  was  the 
increasing  jurisdiction  of  justices  and  quarter  sessions. 
All  these  facts  tended  greatly  to  reduce  the  profits  to  be 
made  by  a  Crown  lessee,  and  were  doubtless  some  of  the 
reasons  why,  from  £j  in  1459,  the  rent  should  drop  to 
£i9  6s.  8d.  in  1475.  At  this  figure  there  was  apparently 
a  fair  margin  of  profit,  as  for  thirty  years  there  is  an  un- 
interrupted series  of  annual  lessees  who  offered  that 
amount  to  hold  the  Hundred  Court.  Nor  do  the  farmers 
seem  to  have  had  any  difficulty  in  paying  their  rent,  from 
which  we  may  infer  the  Hundred  was  settling  down  and 
well  under  the  control  of  the  authorities.  But  the  Hundred 
was  still  troubled  from  time  to  time  with  military  affairs 
which  kept  the  bailiffs  busy.  In  the  autumn  of  1480,  a 
commission,1  consisting  of  William  Stanley  of  Hooton, 

1  C.  R.  R.  20  &  21  Ed.  IV.  m.  i  (3). 

THE   HUNDRED   OF   WIRRAL,    1403-1509        65 

Thomas  Poole,  senior,  Thomas  Massy  of  Puddington,  and 
Thomas  Glegg,  was  appointed  to  collect  the  fighting  men 
of  the  Hundred  before  Christmas,  so  as  to  be  in  readi- 
ness to  attend  the  Prince  of  Wales  in  warlike  array  upon 
three  days'  notice.  A  return  was  also  to  be  made  to 
the  Chamberlain  of  Chester  from  the  gentlemen  of  the 
Hundred  to  determine  the  number  of  horsemen  with  their 
accoutrements  that  could  be  raised  in  each  household.1 
Early  in  1481  the  bailiffs  of  Wirral  were  commanded, 
for  urgent  reasons  and  under  penalty  of  100  marks,  to 
summon  these  commissioners  before  the  Chamberlain  at 
the  Exchequer  of  Chester  to  hear  and  do  the  matters 
then  and  there  to  be  expounded  to  them  ; 2  and  a  little 
later  another  array  was  ordered  of  all  fencible  men 
between  sixteen  and  sixty,  to  depart  on  an  appointed  day 
with  the  King  "  versus  partes  Scocie."3 

There  is  little  of  interest  in  the  lessees  for  this  period. 
The  names  of  Thomas  Whitoff,  Roger  Oldfield,  and 
Richard  Bebington  occur  a  number  of  times,  whilst  Thomas 
Gelibrande  (1492),  though  perhaps  not  a  Wirral  man,  had 
married  into  the  family  of  Parr,  owners  of  the  manor  of 
Backford.4  From  1493  onwards  John  ap  Ithell  and  James 
Bebynton  were  bedells  and  bailiffs  on  many  occasions  and 
to  them,  with  the  bailiffs  of  Broxton  and  Eddisbury,  a 
commission6  was  addressed  in  1496,  commanding  that, 
with  the  under-Sheriff,  Ralph  Birkenhead,  Thomas  Hogh, 

1  C.  R.  R.  20  &  21  Ed.  IV.  m.  i,  d.  (3).        2  C.  R.  R.  20  &  21  Ed.  IV.  m.  i,  d.  (10). 
3  C.  R.  R.  20  &  21  Ed.  IV.  m.  7  (i).  •  C.  R.  R.  n  &  12  Hen.  VII.  m.  5  (2). 

6  C.  R.  R.  166,  m.  2  (2). 



the  coroner  for  the  Hundred  of  Wirral,  and  Thomas 
Glegg  of  Gayton,  they  should  inquire  into  the  accumula- 
tion and  hoarding"  of  grain  in  the  Hundred  and  cause  it 
to  be  publicly  sold  in  the  markets  at  a  fair  price. 

In  1507,  we  find  King  Henry  VII.  granting  a  lease1 
to  Robert  Trafford,  by  the  suretyship  of  John  Trafford, 
chaplain,  of  all  issues  and  pleas  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral, 
as  well  as  all  fines,  amercements,  forfeitures,  and  profits 
to  the  said  bailiwick  pertaining  or  in  any  way  belonging, 
with  the  use  and  occupation  of  the  said  bailiwick.  The 
lease  was  for  two  years  only,  and  the  rent,  payable  to  the 
Earls  of  Chester,  was  265.  8d.  of  "  old  rent"  and  35.  4d. 
by  way  of  increase,  a  total  of  305.,  payable  at  Easter  and 
Michaelmas  by  equal  portions.  This  was  the  first  occasion 
on  which  the  rent  had  been  raised  since  1475. 

Upon  the  expiration  of  this  lease  in  1509,  a  fresh  one2 
was  taken  by  John  ap  Ithell  and  James  Bebynton,  who 
had  held  the  Hundred  some  years  before.  John  Glegg  of 
Gayton  was  surety.  The  issues  and  profits  of  the  office  of 
bailiff  and  bedell  were  granted  for  a  term  of  fourteen  years, 
and  the  rent  was  again  slightly  increased,  being  305.  of 
old  rent  and  is.  8d.  of  new,  and  at  this  figure  it  remained 
for  more  than  one  hundred  and  fifty  years. 

1  C.  R.  R.  176,  m.  9  (2).     App.  II.  No.  6. 

2  C.  R.  R.  179,  m.  i.     App.  II.  N7o.  7. 



Transfer  of  Cheshire  franchises — Augmentation  Office — Queen  Elizabeth's  lease 
to  Cuthbert  Venables — The  rights  and  privileges  of  a  lessee — Lease  to  William 
Trafford — Sir  William  Massy — Report  on  the  Hundred,  1661 — Lease  to  John 
Carter,  1662 — Transfer  of  Hundred  to  Thomas  Dod,  1679 — Edward  Gleggof 
Irby — Lease  to  his  Executor  by  Queen  Anne — John  Glegg's  marriage — His 
two  leases — Court  Roll,  1744 — Suit  and  service — Death  of  John  Glegg,  1768, 
and  leases  to  his  son  John — Lieut.-Gen.  Birkenhead  Glegg — The  last  lease 
runs  out,  1816. 

UP  to  the  beginning  of  the  sixteenth  century  the  manage- 
ment of  the  Crown  franchises  in  Cheshire  seems  to  have 
remained  in  the  hands  of  the  palatine  authorities,  and 
leases  and  documents  relating  to  them  are  to  be  found 
entered  on  the  Palatine  Rolls,  but  after  the  year  1510  no 
further  leases  of  any  Cheshire  Hundreds  are  to  be  found 
there,  though  there  are  a  few  grants  and  appointments 
of  bailiffs  for  life  or  during  pleasure,  but  none  for  the 
Hundred  of  Wirral.  The  management  of  the  Crown 
lands  and  franchises  in  Cheshire  was  at  some  date  in 
the  reign  of  Henry  VIII.,  probably  before  1545,  trans- 
ferred to  the  Exchequer  at  Westminster.  But  the  system 
of  enrolling  the  leases  seems  to  have  fallen  into  abeyance, 

and  none  can  be  found  for  a  period  of  nearly  ninety-five 



years.1  We  are  therefore  thrown  back  again  upon  the 
Sheriffs  accounts,  but,  although  we  can  gather  from  these 
that  the  lease  of  1509  to  Ithell  and  Bebynton  was  pro- 
bably renewed  up  to  the  year  1529,  even  the  Sheriff's 
accounts  then  fail  to  give  us  the  lessees'  names  for  a 
period  of  sixty-five  years.  From  1530  to  1595  all  we  know 
is  that  the  Hundred  was  farmed  out  at  the  old  rent  of 
£i,  us.  8d.  Such  insignificant  franchises  as  that  of  a 
Hundred  had  probably  been  swamped  in  the  rush  of  new 
Crown  property  which  followed  upon  the  dissolution  of 
the  monasteries  and  abbeys.  A  special  Court  to  deal 
with  the  forfeited  lands  and  the  suits  concerning  them 
was  created  under  the  name  of  the  Augmentation  Court. 
This  Court  was  dissolved  by  Queen  Mary,  but  the  Aug- 
mentation Office  remained,  and  it  is  there  that  we  find 
the  next  lease  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral.  In  1596  Queen 
Elizabeth  granted  a  twenty-one  years'  lease2  of  "All  our 
Hundred  of  Wyrehall  "  to  one  Cuthbert  Venables  whom  the 
writer  has  been  unable  to  identify  with  any  of  the  Cheshire 
families  of  that  name.3  The  franchise  of  the  Hundred  is 
referred  to  as  part  of  the  late  possessions  of  the  Earls  of 
Chester,  and  was  granted  by  Queen  Elizabeth  in  as  full 
and  ample  a  manner  as  any  of  the  Earls  could  have  done. 
A  fine  was  paid  by  the  lessee,  but  the  rent  remained  at 

1  The  enrolments,  of  course,  may  exist,  but  Crown  leases  at  this  time   are  scat- 
tered in   various  books  and  records,   which    are  scarcely  indexed  at  all  and  very 
difficult  to  search. 

2  Augmentation  Office  Misc.  Books,  vol.  ccxxviii.,  fol.  148.    Printed  App.  II.  No.  8. 

3  He  seems  to  have  left  no  will  or  administration,  and  his  name  has  not  been  found 
in  any  pedigree  of  the  Venables  family  which  the  writer  has  met  with. 


315.  8d.  The  lease  contains  a  very  full  description  of  the 
rights  and  perquisites  of  the  Hundred,  and  is  a  much  more 
elaborate  affair  than  any  of  the  earlier  ones.  One  or  two 
changes  which  had  gradually  occurred  in  the  form  of  the 
lease  are  here  worth  noting.  The  fourteenth  and  fifteenth 
century  leases  do  not  mention  the  rights  and  perquisites 
of  the  bailiff  or  bedell,  and  we  have  been  driven  for  our 
information  on  these  points  to  the  Sheriffs  accounts.  The 
lease  of  1507  to  Robert  Trafford  is  a  little  more  elaborate 
in  its  terms,  and  it  is  noteworthy  that  it  does  not  mention 
the  bailiff  or  bedell.  The  fact  was  that  the  description  of 
the  lessee  as  a  bedell  was  gradually  dropping  out,  and  the 
title  does  not  occur  in  the  annual  accounts  after  the  com- 
mencement of  the  reign  of  Edward  VI.  Both  the  bailiff 
and  the  bedell  became  lost  in  the  maze  of  words  by  which 
it  became  the  custom  to  describe  the  Hundred  and  its 
rights,  and,  practically,  the  titles  are  only  to  be  found  in 
England  after  about  this  date  in  a  few  towns,  or  as 
applied  to  that  other  class  of  officer  whose  business  it  is  to 
serve  writs.1  The  leases  become  in  point  of  form  leases 
of  the  Hundred,  but  there  can  have  been  no  practical 
difference  in  the  position  of  the  lessees,  and  the  alterations 
were  probably  only  the  outcome  of  the  system  of  elaborate 
conveyancing  then  in  vogue.  What  the  Crown  lessees 
got  at  this  date  in  return  for  their  rent,  and  what  were 

1  Sometimes  called  bailiffs  errant  or  itinerant.  In  the  reign  of  Henry  VIII.  David 
Fraunceys  was  made  bailiff  errant  for  the  Hundred  of  Wirral,  but  as  for  some  reason 
he  could  not  lawfully  hold  the  office,  he  was  granted  an  annuity  for  life  of  403.  Signed 
Bills  (Welsh  Records),  24  Oct.  9  Hen.  VIII. 


the  sources  of  the  revenue  out  of  which  they  were  to  pay 
such  rent,  may  be  seen  on  reference  to  the  lease,  but  the 
general  nature  of  the  rights  has  been  already  indicated,1 
and  it  must  not  be  supposed  that  the  lengthy  list  of 
privileges  now  enumerated  contained  anything  new.  On 
the  contrary,  it  is  safe  to  say  that  in  1596  the  actual 
sources  of  the  revenue  of  the  lord  of  the  Hundred  were 
not  nearly  so  numerous  as  they  had  been  many  hundreds 
of  years  before,  and  of  all  those  that  remained  the  actual 
income  had,  no  doubt,  dwindled  very  much.  It  could 
hardly  have  been  argued  that  the  fines  and  fees  of  the 
Superior  Courts  of  record  held  at  Chester  or  at  the  Assizes, 
or  before  the  Justices  of  the  Peace  for  the  county,2  were 
included  in  the  lease,  but  the  Crown  lawyers  took  care  to 
make  it  clear  that  it  did  not  include  them,  nor  the  fees 
taken  at  the  Court  held  by  the  Clerk  of  the  Market,3  for 
the  collection  of  all  of  which  they  reserved  liberty  for  the 
officers  of  the  Crown  to  enter  the  Hundred. 

The  lease  to  Venables  expired  in  1617,  and  for  the 
next  eleven  years  the  Hundred  remained  in  the  hands  of 
the  Crown. 

On  November  5,  1628,  a  twenty-seven  years'  lease* 
was  granted  to  William  Trafford  (of  Bridge  Trafford), 

1  Ante,  p.  30. 

2  The  establishment  in  the  reign  of  Henry  VIII.  of  a  regular  and  efficient  supply  of 
Justices  of  the  Peace  for  Cheshire  would  tend  still  further  to  reduce  the  business  of 
the  Hundred  Courts. 

8  A  royal  official  who  held  courts  in  every  city,  borough,  and  town  for  the  trial  of 
weights  and  measures  and  questions  as  to  the  prices  of  commodities.  He  was  super- 
seded by  5  &  6  Will.  IV.  c.  iii. 

4  Land  Rev.  Enrol,  vol.  clvii.  f.  122.     Printed  App.  II.  No.  9. 


gentleman,  by  deed  under  the  hands  and  seals  of  Sir 
John  Walter,  Chief  Baron  of  the  Court  of  Exchequer,  Sir 
James  Fullerton,  one  of  the  Gentlemen  of  the  Bedchamber, 
and  Sir  Thomas  Trevor,  Baron  of  the  Court  of  Exchequer, 
the  trustees  of  the  property  of  King  Charles  I.  It  ap- 
pears from  the  lease  (which,  unlike  the  previous  one  and 
the  immediately  subsequent  ones,  is  in  English)  that  four 
years  before  Trafford  had  arranged  for  a  lease  for  thirty- 
one  years  and  had  paid  a  fine  of  ^10,  but  had  never  taken 
up  the  lease.  The  rent  of  the  new  one  remained  315.  8d. 
as  before,  and  Trafford  agreed  to  provide  "A  sufficient 
Stewarde  skillful  in  the  lawes  to  keepe  the  courtes  within 
the  Hundred,"  and  to  pay  his  fees  and  also  all  the  expenses 
of  keeping  up  the  Courts.  This  clause  does  not  again 
appear,  and  may  have  been  thought  superfluous.  Another 
new  obligation  was  to  submit  to  the  commissioners  of  the 
King's  revenue  a  statement  of  all  the  fines,  issues,  and 
profits  of  the  Hundred,  so  that  the  King's  inheritance 
may  be  the  better  known  and  preserved.  A  system  of 
enrolling  the  leases  was  now  also  definitely  inaugurated. 

This  Trafford  was  a  son  of  Thomas  Trafford  of  Bridge 
Trafford  (who  died  in  1625)  and  Alice  Massy,  daughter  of 
William  Massy  of  Puddington.  William  Trafford  died 
in  1636  and  the  lease  somehow  became  vested  in  his 
cousin,  Sir  William  Massy  of  Puddington,  Knight,  who 
was  one  of  the  trustees  of  the  marriage  settlement  of 
William  Trafford's  son  and  heir  Thomas.1 

1   Vide  Inq.  p.m.  13  Car.  I. 


Sir  William  Massy  took  the  Royalist  side  in  the  civil 
war  and  assisted  to  hold  Chester  against  the  Parliament. 
Upon  the  reduction  of  Chester  he  compounded  for  his 
delinquency  with  a  fine  of  ^1414,  and  it  appears  from  his 
papers1  that  at  that  date  (1646)  he  was  possessed  for 
eight  years  yet  to  come  of  the  franchise  of  the  Hundred 
of  Wirral  and  certain  casual  profits  within  the  same, 
under  the  lease  of  1628.  We  also  are  told  that  in  ordi- 
nary years  the  profits  of  the  Hundred  were  then  worth 
£<\  a  year  more  than  the  rent  (£i,  us.  8d.),  a  fact  which 
prepares  us  for  an  increase  of  the  latter  later  on.  The 
steward  at  this  time  was  one  John  Wilson,  and  he  certifies 
a  list  of  fees  of  the  Hundred  Court,  which  has  been  pre- 
served.2 One  penny  was  charged  for  every  "essoyne" 
(or  excused  attendance  at  the  Court),  a  summons  cost  2d., 
whilst  a  fee  of  4d.  was  payable  on  entry  of  an  action,  for 
issuing  execution,  and  for  service  of  it.  Sixpence  for 
"amerciament "  was  no  doubt  a  fee  payable  in  addition 
to  the  fine.  These  figures  seem  small,  but  the  value  of 
money  in  those  days  must  not  be  forgotten. 

Massy's  lease  ran  out  in  1655,  and  for  the  next  few 
years  the  Hundred  remained  in  the  hands  of  the  Crown. 

In  1661,  Sir  Charles  Harbord,  the  Surveyor-General 
of  the  Revenues  of  the  Crown,  instructed  the  Auditor  to 
make  a  new  report  upon  the  leases  of  the  Hundred  of 

1  Printed  in  "The  Cheshire  Sheaf"  (3rd  Ser.),  vol.  i.   p.   114.     Mr.  T.  Helsby's 
comments  at  p.  1 19  are  wide  of  the  mark. 

2  Harl.  MSS.  2078.  f.   147.     Wilson  was  also  steward  of  Caldy  Hundred  Court, 
then  held  for  William  Glegg  of  Gayton,  a  distant  cousin  of  Sir  William  Massy.     The 
fees  are  identical  save  that  no  fee  is  mentioned  for  amercement. 

HENRY    VIII.   TO   END   OF   XVIIlTH    CENTURY     73 

Wirral.  The  reason  for  this  report  was  an  application, 
in  1660,  by  one  John  Carter  for  a  lease  of  the  Hundred. 
Apparently  Carter  was  willing  to  pay  205.  more  rent 
than  his  predecessor,  but  before  a  lease  was  granted 
the  Surveyor-General  thought  it  desirable  to  obtain  the 
usual  report  upon  the  earlier  ones.  The  report  is  pre- 
faced by  a  Latin  description  of  the  Hundred  and  its 
rights,  practically  the  same  as  that  contained  in  the 
leases  to  Venables  and  Trafford,  which  are  next  referred 
to.  Then  comes  a  memorandum  in  English,  constituting 
the  report  of  the  Auditor.  After  dealing  with  the  two 
last  leases,  he  says:  "The  premisses  were  granted  by 
way  of  lease  and  not  [by]  way  of  custody,  without  the 
clause  of  Si  quis  plus  dare  voluerit  sine  fraude  vel  malo 
ingenio,  but  I  find  that  the  said  William  Trafford  did 
pay  a  fine  of  tenn  pounds  to  his  said  Majestic  when  he 
was  Prince  of  Wales."  This  seems  to  require  a  little 
explanation.  When  a  Hundred  was  in  the  hands  of  a 
sheriff  or  of  a  bailiff  who  held  no  lease,  he  held  it  as 
"custos,"  and  it  was  his  duty,  simply  as  an  official,  to 
account  for  actual  revenue  ;  he  made  no  profit.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  farmer  who  took  a  lease  paid  his  rent  to 
the  Sheriff  and  made  what  he  could.  It  was  usual  for 
leases  of  this  kind  to  contain  a  power1  to  increase  the 
rent  if  a  bond  fide  offer  of  more  was  forthcoming  ;  but  a 

1  The  clause  usually  ran  as  follows  :  "  Si  quis  sine  fraude  vel  malo  ingenio  pro 
firma  predicta  de  incremento  infra  terminum  predictum  plus  dare  voluerit  tune  dictus 
AB.  tantum  pro  eadem  soluere  teneatur  si  firmam  habere  voluerit  supra-dictam." 
See  the  fee  farm  leases  in  the  App.  to  Prof.  Muir's  "  History  of  Municipal  Government 
in  Liverpool." 


system  of  fines  was  adopted  instead  in  the  case  of  the 
Hundred  leases. 

Following  upon  the  report1  (which  is  otherwise  unin- 
teresting) comes  a  Minute  of  the  terms  upon  which  the 
desired  lease  will  be  granted,  as  follows  : — 

1  'This  Perticular  is  made  by  my  Lord  Treasurer's 
order  of  the  27th  December  last  upon  the  humble  Peticion 
of  John  Carter  for  a  lease  of  the  premisses  to  be  granted 
unto  him  for  one  and  twenty  years  in  such  manner  as  the 
same  were  granted  to  William  Trafford  above  mencioned 
at  the  above  said  rent  of  xxxis.  viiid.  and  twenty  shillings 
per  annum  de  incremento,  if  your  lordships  think  fitt  in 
lieu  of  a  fine  of  Tenn  pounds  as  was  paid  upon  the 
first  lease.  Provided  that  both  the  said  rents  be  duly 
paid  at  Michaelmas  and  the  Annunciacion  by  equal  por- 
cions  during  the  time  or  within  forty  dayes  next  past 
either  of  the  said  feasts.  And  that  the  lease  be  enrolled 
within  six  months  after  the  date  before  the  clerk  of  the 
Pipe  or  else  become  voyd,"  &c. 

In  consequence  of  these  recommendations  the  next 
leases  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral  are  to  be  found  enrolled 
in  the  Pipe  Office  of  the  Exchequer. 

The  lease  to  John  Carter,  gentleman,  for  twenty-one 
years  at  the  increased  rent  of  515.  8d.  per  annum  was 
granted  on  May  12,  1662. 2  The  obligation  to  render 

1  Pipe  Office,  Crown  Leases,  No.  2821. 

8  Pipe  Office,  Crown  Leases,  No.  2859.     Printed  App.  II.  No.  10. 


a  list  of  the  profits  of  the  franchise  was  enlarged  to  a 
covenant,  within  three  years,  and  in  every  following  seventh 
year,  to  lodge  a  schedule  or  rental,  on  parchment,  of  the 
revenue  from  the  Hundred,  with  the  names  and  addresses 
of  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  Hundred,  and  of  the  vills  and 
hamlets  contributing  to  the  revenue. 

Whether  any  such  rentals  were  ever  filed  is  doubtful, 
as  no  trace  of  them  has  been  found.  The  obligation  to 
render  them  occurs  in  subsequent  leases  and  can  scarcely 
have  been  an  empty  one.  The  information  contained 
in  such  documents  would  have  been  of  considerable 

Carter  was  probably  the  same  person  as  the  John 
Carter  who,  a  few  years  before,  was  made  steward  of 
Denbigh  by  Charles  II.1  His  lease  was  due  to  run  out 
in  1683,  but  before  that  date  it  seems  to  have  become 
transferred,  probably  by  sale,  to  Randulph  or  Randle  Dod, 
no  doubt  one  of  the  Dods  of  Edge  in  Cheshire. 

In  1679,  Thomas  Dod,  perhaps  a  son  or  brother  of 
Randle,  petitioned  for  a  new  lease  of  the  "Stewardship 
of  Wirral."  In  view  of  the  recent  increase  of  rent,  no 
new  survey  was  thought  necessary,  and  the  Crown  surveyor 
agreed  to  give  the  option  of  a  thirty-one  years'  lease  from 
1679  on  the  surrender  by  Randulph  Dod  of  the  existing 
one,  or  a  twenty-seven  years'  lease  from  1683.  Dod  chose 
the  former,  and  on  the  25th  November  1679  the  new  lease2 

1  Grig.  12  Car.  II.  rot.  57. 

2  Pipe  Office,  Crown  Leases,  No.  3261.     Printed  App.  II.  No.  II. 


was  granted  at  the  old  rental.1  Apparently  the  covenants 
of  the  last  lease  had  not  been  too  carefully  observed,  and 
pressure  had  had  to  be  exercised  on  the  lessee,  but,  as  it 
appears  that  no  distress  to  enforce  their  observance  was 
allowed  to  be  taken  on  grants  of  this  kind,  Dod  had  to 
give  a  bond  in  £100  penalty  to  the  King's  Remembrancer 
to  carry  out  his  obligations.  Dod's  lease  of  1679  became 
vested  (whether  by  sale,  descent,  or  otherwise  is  not  clear) 
in  Edward  Glegg  of  Irby  in  Wirral,  the  son  of  Edward 
Glegg  of  Caldey  Grange,  by  a  second  wife  Anne.  He 
was  born  about  1658,  and  married  Jane,  daughter  of 
John  Scorer,  gentleman,  of  Westminster.  She  died  in 
1720,  and  was  buried  at  Thurstaston.  There  are  no 
records  of  his  lordship  of  the  Hundred,  which  was  now 
in  the  hands  of  one  of  the  most  prominent  families  in 
Cheshire  and  one  resident  in  the  Hundred  ;  and  there  it 
remained  for  upwards  of  a  hundred  years.  Edward  Glegg 
died  on  December  15,  1703,  and  by  his  will  (which  is  dated 
only  ten  days  before  his  death)  he  left  the  bulk  of  his 
property  to  Sir  William  Glegg  of  Gayton,  his  father-in- 
law  John  Scorer,  and  his  only  brother  John  Glegg  of 
Tranmore,  on  trusts  for  his  family.  The  will  was  proved 
at  Chester  on  January  29,  1703,  by  Scorer,  and  also  in 
October  1708  by  the  widow.  It  does  not  refer  to  the 
lease  of  the  Hundred,  which  passed  to  his  executors. 

The  lease  ran  till  1710,   but  in   1704  it  was  renewed2 

1  Cf.  the  rent  of  475.  paid  in  1681  for  the  Hundred  of  Bucklow. 

2  Pipe  Office,  Crown  Leases,  No.  3801.    Printed  App.  II.  No.  12.    Compare  the  rent 
of  £2,  js.  and  £i  as  a  heriot  paid  in  1701  for  a  lease  of  the  Hundred  of  Bucklow. 

HENRY   VIII.    TO   END   OF   XVIIlTH    CENTURY     77 

by  Scorer,  the  executor,  for  twenty-five  years  from  1710,  at 
the  old  rent  of  515.  8d.  The  new  lease  from  Queen  Anne 
took  the  form  of  a  grant  to  Scorer  in  trust  for  John  Glegg, 
the  son  and  heir  of  Edward  Glegg  of  Irby,  and  then  a 
minor.  Apparently  there  was  some  suggestion  that 
Edward  Glegg  had  parted  with  a  portion  of  the  Hundred 
and  its  rights,  as  in  the  lease  we  find  a  clause  (which 
does  not  appear  again)  providing  that  on  proof  by  any 
assignee  of  Edward  Glegg  of  his  right  to  a  share  of  the 
Hundred,  the  executor  should  assign  to  him  a  like  part 
of  the  new  lease  on  payment  of  costs,  &c.  No  such 
person  seems  to  have  come  forward. 

John  Glegg  was  a  Justice  of  the  Peace  for  Cheshire. 
He  married  Frances,  eldest  daughter  of  Edward  Birken- 
head,  and  co-heiress  with  her  sister  Deborah,  wife  of 
William  Glegg  of  Grange,  to  the  estates  of  her  uncle, 
Thomas  Birkenhead  of  Backford  Hall  in  Wirral,  the 
present  residence  of  this  branch  of  the  Glegg  family. 
She  was  born  in  1704,  and  survived  her  husband  for 
some  years,  dying  in  1791. 

The  Crown  lease  was  twice  renewed  during  John 
Glegg's  life.  In  April  1734,  a  year  before  it  would  have 
expired,  a  new  lease1  of  the  "farm  or  custody  of  our 
Hundred  of  Wirehall  and  of  the  Courts  and  perquisites 
there"  was  obtained  from  George  II.  This  lease  was  for 
twenty-nine  years  from  1735  and  at  the  old  rent.  Again, 

1  Pipe  Office,  Crown  Leases,  No.  4373.     Printed  App.  II.   No.  13.     In  this  lease 
the  previous  lessee  is  by  mistake  called  "  Peter  Storer." 


in  March  1759,  the  lease  was  renewed1  for  twenty-five 
years  from  1764.  The  rent  remained  at  513.  8d.,  and  the 
Hundred  was  now  described  as  "  parcel  of  the  revenues 
of  the  Crown  of  England." 

The  only  Court  Roll  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral  that  is 
known  belongs  to  this  period.  Unfortunately  the  roll 
itself  is  missing,  and  the  particulars  that  follow  are  taken 
from  a  partial  copy  of  it.2  It  was  written  on  three  sheets 
of  foolscap,  and  appears  to  have  been  in  two  handwritings. 
The  main  body  of  the  record  was  probably  written  by  the 
steward,  while  the  "  presentments  "  seem  to  have  been  in 
the  writing  of  an  illiterate  "jurier,"  with  additions  by  the 
steward  to  explain  them. 

The  roll  is  headed  in  the  usual  style  as  follows  : — 

Hundred  of  The  Court  Leet,  Court  Baron  and  View  of  ffrank 
Worrall  Plege  of  John  Glegg  gentlm.  Held  for  the  said 

To  wit  Hundred  the   nineteenth  Day  of  April  in   the  seven- 

teenth year  of  the  Reigne  of  our  Sovereigne  Lord 
George  the  Second  and  in  the  year  of  ourLorde  1744 
before  John  Glegg  gentm. 

Then  followed  the  names  of  the  suitors  of  the  Court,  304 
in  number,  and  coming  from  sixteen  townships  of  Wirral, 
viz.  "Wallazey,"  "  Pool  ton  and  Seacomb,"  Liscard, 
Higher  "  Bebbington,"  Prenton,  Capenhurst,  Pudding- 
ton,  Little  Neston,  Hooton,  Ness,  "Tranmore,"  "Caldie," 
Landican,  Arrow,  Ledsham,  and  Woodbank.  Dr.  Hume 3 

1  Pipe  Office,  Crown  Leases,  No.  5099.     Printed  App.  II.  No.  14. 

2  Trans.  Hist.  Soc.  of  Lanes,  and  Ches.,  vol.  xxvii.  p.  183. 

3  In  Trans.  Hist.  Soc.  (loc.  cit.). 

HENRY   VIII.   TO   END   OF   XVIIIrn    CENTURY     79 

notes  that  nearly  all  the  suitors  seem  to  have  been  house- 
holders, which  is  not  unnatural  seeing  that  the  obligation 
to  do  suit  and  service  at  a  Hundred  Court  was  founded 
in  residence  within  its  jurisdiction.  Forty-three  resided 
in  Tranmere,  thirty-four  in  Wallasey,  twenty-nine  in  Little 
Neston,  twenty-seven  in  Ness,  eight  at  Ledsham,  and  six 
at  Landican  and  Woodbank. 

The  presentments  are  chiefly  for  non-attendance  to  do 
suit  and  service  at  the  Court,  e.g. : — 

"  Every  one  that  did  not  appear  that  do  belong  to  this 
Court  this  day  we  fine  in  one  shilling  each." 

"The  inhabittan  of  Puddingto[n]  for  not  appeering  at 
this  Coart  in  twelf  pence  each." 

Nineteen  persons  were  fined  sixpence  each  for  "beak 
in  "  (breaking)  the  "size  "  of  bread  and  ale. 

"  Walzey.  We  order  every  person  that  belongeth  to 
the  pasture  ditch,  if  a  gap  be  broken  down,  after  24  hours 
notis  if  not  made  up,  to  pay  io/-  for  every  default  after 
notis  from  ye  constable  or  warned  in  the  churchyard. 

"We  present  Henery  Bird,  Mr.  Hyde,  Elizebeth  Hill, 
John  Mulenex,  John  Ranford,  James  Ranford,  Tho. 
Bertels  in  5/-  each  for  breach  of  an  order  (of  last  Court 
for  not  keeping  up  their  pasture  fence). 

"We  present  Joseph  Robison  for  taking  a  large  tree 
away  being  a  weaf,1  in  one  pound. 

1  No  doubt  blown  down  by  the  wind  and  a  perquisite  of  the  lord. 


"  Capinhurst.  We  order  John  Mayson  to  cut  and  ditch 
betwixt  John  Mayson  poolhay  corner  and  John  Baxter's 
poolhay  corner  betwixt  and  next  Cort,  in  pain  of  io/-. 

"  Liskit.  We  order  every  person  that  turneth  seep  [sic] 
out  to  the  common  without  a  separd  shall  pay  twelve 
pence  each  sheep. 

"  Tranmore.  We  order  George  Myres  to  take  away  the 
thorns  that  ly  in  the  gate  in  the  Rode  to  Samuel  friest's 
holt,  betwixt  and  the  first  of  May  next,  in  pain  of  twenty 

No  civil  proceedings  in  the  nature  of  actions  for  debt, 
trespass,  &c.,  are  mentioned,  but  it  was  not  customary 
to  record  these  on  the  rolls,  which  would  only  contain  the 
names  of  the  suitors  at  the  annual  View  of  Frankpledge, 
and  the  presentments  of  the  leet  jury. 

These  entries  may  be  said  fairly  to  illustrate  the  petty 
and  yet  useful  jurisdiction  of  the  Court  in  those  days.  It 
is  to  be  regretted  that  more  of  such  rolls  have  not  survived, 
as  they  would  throw  much  light  on  the  history,  develop- 
ment, and  customs  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral.1 

1  That  rolls  were  kept  whilst  the  Court  was  in  the  hands  of  the  Glegg  family  is 
shown  by  this  solitary  roll  of  1744,  but  Mr.  Birkenhead  Glegg  of  Backford  Hall,  the 
present  head  of  the  Irby  family,  has  been  unable  to  show  the  writer  any.  He  possesses 
a  fine  series  of  rolls  for  his  Manors  of  Irby  and  Greasby,  running  almost  continuously 
from  1692  to  1766  and  from  1790  to  1820  (which  it  is  hoped  he  may  some  day  allow  to 
be  examined)  and,  from  the  regularity  and  care  with  which  these  have  been  kept  by 
the  Glegg's  various  stewards  (who  would  probably  also  be  stewards  of  the  Hundred 
Court)  during  a  period  almost  exactly  coinciding  with  the  Gleggs'  farm  of  the  Court 
of  Wirral,  it  seems  more  than  likely  that  rolls  for  the  Hundred  Court  were  equally 
well  kept.  It  is  possible  that  they  may  yet  be  found. 

HENRY   VIII.   TO   END   OF   XVIIIxn    CENTURY     81 

It  will  be  noticed  at  once  that  persons  from  only  sixteen 
out  of  the  threescore  or  more  townships  which  existed  in 
Wirral  at  this  date  appear  to  have  owed  suit  and  service 
to  the  Hundred  Court.  In  the  absence  of  further  rolls  it 
is  unsafe  to  infer  that  these  were  the  only  townships  at 
this  date  within  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Hundred  view  and 
leet,  but  it  is  probably  the  fact.  It  must  be  remembered 
that  suitors  who  were  bound  to  attend  a  manorial  court  leet 
were  excused  from  going  to  the  leet  of  the  Hundred,  and 
that  a  manorial  View  of  Frankpledge  released  the  tenants 
of  that  manor  from  attendance  at  the  Sheriff's  Turn.1 
Now  there  were  a  great  number  of  manorial  leets  in 
Wirral,  and  several  persons  were  entitled  to  a  View  of 
Frankpledge  in  various  parts  of  the  peninsula,  and  a  care- 
ful examination  of  the  townships  reveals  the  fact  that  the 
ones  absent  from  the  Hundred  roll  are  just  those  which 
were,  at  some  time  or  other,  within  a  manorial  leet  or  view. 
On  the  other  hand,  those  whose  residents  did  suit  at  the 
Hundred  Court  in  1744  seem  to  have  been  attached  to  no 
manorial  leet,  except  in  two  or  perhaps  three  cases,  which 
may  possibly  be  accounted  for  by  the  local  leet  jurisdic- 
tion having  lapsed,  so  causing  them  to  come  within  the 
leet  of  the  Hundred.  This  explanation  of  the  small 
number  of  townships  attending  the  Hundred  Court  is 
not  insisted  upon,  but  seems  a  natural  one.2  The  fact 

1  Stubbs"  "  Constitutional  History,"  vol.  i.  p.  400. 

2  The  facts  upon  which  this  theory  is  put  forward  cannot  be  adduced  here,  but 
are  based  upon  the  particulars  of  the  courts  leet  in  Wirral  given  in  Ormerod  (1882), 
vol.  ii. 



that  its  leet  jurisdiction  was  limited  in  this  way  would 
not  affect  the  civil  or  Court  Baron  jurisdiction  of  the 
Hundred  Court,  which  seems  to  have  been  exercised  up 
to  the  last  more  or  less  all  over  the  Hundred. 

The  death  of  John  Glegg  occurred  on  May  14,  1768. 
By  his  will,  dated  December  2,  1767,  he  left  all  his  personal 
property  to  his  wife,  and  appointed  her  and  his  son  John 
(born  December  6,  1732)  executrix  and  executor.  The 
will  was  proved  at  Chester  by  the  son  alone  on  June  17, 
1 769,  but  before  that  date  it  was  thought  proper  to  vest 
the  remaining-  years  of  the  lease  of  the  Hundred  in  him. 
This  was  effected  by  a  deed,1  dated  August  6,  1768,  by 
which,  for  a  nominal  consideration,  the  widow  trans- 
ferred the  franchise  to  her  son  and  took  from  him  the 
usual  indemnity.  Our  knowledge  of  this  deed  is  owing  to 
the  obligation  to  enroll  assignments,  which  was  inserted 
in  leases  after  1734. 

A  third  Glegg  now  became  lessee  of  the  Hundred 
of  Wirral  and  held  the  office  for  thirty-eight  years  until 
his  death.  In  the  meantime  he  renewed  the  lease  in  1786 
for  twenty-seven  years  from  ijSg2  and  still  at  the  old 
rent  of  515.  8d.  which  was  fixed  in  1662.  No  fine  was 
exacted  on  the  new  lease.  This  John  Glegg,  who  re- 
sided at  Ashfield  House,  Great  Neston,  married  his 
cousin  Betty  Glegg  in  1762,  and  died  on  March  6,  1804. 
His  will  is  dated  July  9,  1802,  and  was  proved  at 

1  Land  Rev.  Enrolments,  vol.  xvi.    See  App.  II.  No.  15. 

2  Pipe  Office,  Crown  Leases,  No.  6012.     Printed  App.  II.  No.   16.     Compare  the 
rent  of  £2,  IDS.  for  the  Hundred  of  Bucklow,  raised  in  1813  to  £3,  los. 


Chester  on  May  15,  1804,  by  his  widow.  Under  its 
provisions  the  Hundred  devolved  on  his  son  and  heir, 
afterwards  Lieutenant-General  Birkenhead  Glegg  (born 
November  i,  1765),  who,  therefore,  became  the  lessee 
of  the  lordship  of  Wirral  for  the  twelve  remaining  years 
of  the  Crown  lease,  which  ran  out  in  1816.  It  was  not 
renewed,  and  thus  the  Hundred  of  Wirral  passed  out  of 
the  hands  of  the  Gleggs  who  had  farmed  it  for  upwards 
of  a  century. 



THE   LORDSHIP  OF   JOHN   WILLIAMS,    1820-1829 

State  of  the  Hundred  Courts— William  Button's  attack— The  Court  of  West 
Derby — The  Crown  sells  the  Hundred — The  Claremont  Estate  Act — John 
Williams  —  The  Crown  grant  —  Wreck  —  Royal  fish  —  Queen  Elizabeth's 
inquiry,  1595  —  Treasure  trove  —  Conviction  of  Williams  for  Forgery — 
Transfer  of  the  Hundred  in  Prison — Common  Law  Commission. 

AT  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century,  the  Hundred 
Courts  all  over  England  had  sunk  very  low.  They  had 
long  survived  their  usefulness ;  the  gradual  fall  in  the 
value  of  money  rendered  the  limit  of  jurisdiction  obsolete  ; 
their  ancient  duties  were  almost  all  performed  by  the 
justices  or  by  the  police  ;  and,  like  many  another  institu- 
tion which  has  lived  too  long,  they  became  a  nuisance. 
Their  cumbrous  machinery  of  legal  processes,  ill  adapted 
for  the  trifling  disputes  for  which  it  was  put  in  motion, 
was  used  as  an  engine  of  oppression.  Rapacious  stewards 
and  attorneys  took  advantage  of  the  right  to  use  almost 
all  the  processes  of  a  superior  Court,  to  foment  and 
exploit  petty  disputes,  to  pile  up  bills  of  costs  out  of 
all  proportion  to  the  case,  and  to  extract  payment  by 
iniquitous  distresses  to  the  ruin  of  the  unfortunate  debtor. 

As,   however,   the   Courts   were  chiefly  in   the   hands  of 


LORDSHIP   OF   JOHN   WILLIAMS,    1820-1829     85 

titled  or  important  county  families,  any  attempt  to  dis- 
pute such  vested  interests  was  not  very  likely  in  those 
days  to  succeed. 

In  1789  a  vigorous  onslaught  upon  the  Hundred 
Courts  had  been  made  by  William  Hutton,  who  was 
one  of  the  commissioners  of  the  Birmingham  Court  of 
Requests.  A  number  of  these  local  courts  had  been 
established  some  years  before  for  the  recovery  of  small 
debts,  and  Hutton  actively  advocated  an  extension  of 
their  jurisdiction.  Besides  writing  an  account  of  his 
own  Court,  he  also  published  a  pamphlet1  in  which 
he  strongly  contrasts  the  advantages  of  the  Courts  of 
Requests  (where  there  was  no  jury)  with  the  abuses 
existing  in  the  Hundred  Courts.  He  deals  chiefly  with 
the  Hundred  Court  of  Hemlingford  (Warwickshire),  but 
"in  exhibiting  one  we  see  all,"  he  says,  and  his  de- 
scription of  a  Hundred  Court  is  well  worth  quoting : 
"A  Court  chiefly  applied  to  by  the  ignorant,  and  those 
who  delight  in  the  sweet  but  poisonous  feast  of  revenge 
— a  Court  which  multiplies  the  evils  it  was  meant  to 
redress  ;  directed  by  craving  leeches  who  suck  the 
deepest  where  there  is  no  blood  to  spare."  The  feel- 
ings of  a  stranger  attracted  to  the  Court  by  curiosity 
are  thus  described  : — 

"  While  he  breathes  this  polluted  air,  he  will  doubt 
whether    he    breathes    in    a    land    of    freedom.      If    he 

1  "A   Dissertation   on   Juries,   with    a    Description   of   the    Hundred    Court": 
Birmingham,  1789.     Published  as  an  Appendix  to  his  "Courts  of  Requests,"  1787. 


happenes  to  be  an  antiquary,  he  will  find  this  the  only 
species  of  antiquity  in  the  neighbourhood  that  disgusts 
him ;  if  a  divine,  he  will  have  ocasion  to  warn  his 
hearers  to  avoid  two  places ;  if  a  lawyer,  he  will  wish 
himself  in  one ;  if  he  be  no  housekeeper,1  he  will  con- 
gratulate himself  that  he  is  out  of  its  reach  ;  and,  if  it 
was  possible  he  could,  in  any  place,  rejoice  because  he 
possessed  no  property,  it  might  be  in  this.  He  will 
observe,  they  are  seldom  troubled  with  penetrating  to 
the  root  of  the  question,  but  content  themselves  with 
the,  fruit.  He  will  also  perceive  the  jury  are  composed 
of  the  lowest  class,  collected  from  the  shop,  the  street, 
and  the  ale-house,  who,  having  no  character  to  keep, 
have  none  to  lose ;  equally  narrow  in  understanding 
and  in  fortune ;  humbly  submitting  to  direction,  and, 
by  echoing  back  the  words  of  the  Judge,  become  the 
magpies  of  the  Court.  A  degenerate  Court  can  only 
be  served  by  a  degenerate  Jury  ;  in  both  the  observer 
will  discover  a  family  likeness,  they  exactly  tally,  but 
with  this  difference,  while  one  carries  off  the  golden 
fleece,  the  other  looks  wistfully  on." 

The  methods  of  business  can  best  be  gathered  from 
the  following  extract : — 

"  While  an  attorney  frequently  concerned  in  the 
Hundred  Court  sat  smoaking  his  pipe  in  a  public- 
house,  he  observed  to  the  landlord,  *  if  he  had  any 
money  owing  him,  he  could  easily  recover  it  without 

1  The  jurisdiction  of  the  Hundred  Courts  was  founded  in  residence. 

LORDSHIP  OF  JOHN  WILLIAMS,    1820-1829     87 

trouble  or  expense.'  'I  have  none,'  replied  the  land- 
lord, to  this  silver  bait,  'but  what  I  expect  in  due 
course;'  'yes,'  answered  his  wife  with  a  smile,  'John 

M owes  for  two  mugs  of  ale.'     With  this  slender 

authority  the  attorney  proceeded  against  him  in  the 
Hundred  Court  for  four-pence.  The  expence  soon 
mounted  to  more  than  two  pounds,  at  which  price  his 
effects,  perhaps,  had  been  rated,  and  poor  John's  bed 
was  taken  from  under  him  with  his  other  trifling  chattels, 
and  he  with  his  family  despoiled  of  housekeeping.  The 
Bailiff  of  the  Court  who  took  the  distress  and  sold  the 
property,  forgot  to  render  an  account,  or  return  the 
overplus,  for  which  John  was  directed  to  sue  him  in 
the  Court  of  Requests.  The  landlord  appeared  and  de- 
clared he  never  gave,  nor  intended  to  give,  an  order 
to  pursue  him  in  any  Court,  believing  he  would  pay 
him  without,  and  that  his  wife  meant  no  more  than  a 
jest.  Upon  enquiry  there  appeared  four  shillings  due 
to  John  which  the  Court  awarded  against  the  Bailiff, 
who,  being  a  stranger  to  tender  sensations  and  habitu- 
ate'd  to  acts  of  violence,  was  in  no  way  abashed  ;  but 
of  all  the  persons  in  the  Court,  seemed  the  only  one 
who  felt  no  pity  for  this  hard  case,  a  case  where  the 
little  delinquent  was  surprised  into  ruin,  and  where  the 
crime  and  the  punishment  bore  no  proportion." 

Probably  the  Court  of  Wirral  was  not  at  this  date 
quite  so  scandalous  an  institution  as  the  one  depicted 
by  Hutton,  but  similar  abuses  were  to  be  found  all  over 


the  country.  Across  the  Mersey  the  Wapentake  or 
Hundred  Court  of  West  Derby,  then  held  by  the  Earl 
of  Sefton,  as  hereditary  steward  under  a  grant  from 
Henry  VI.,  became  a  public  scourge,  and  a  "Waping- 
tax "  was  a  well-known  weapon  with  which  to  threaten 
one's  neighbours  upon  the  slightest  excuse.  In  1818 
a  request  of  Egerton  Smith,  the  editor  of  the  Liverpool 
Mercury,  to  be  furnished  with  instances  of  abuses  in  the 
Hundred  Courts,  produced,  amongst  others,  the  follow- 
ing letter,  written  by  an  unlucky  man  against  whom  a 
neighbour  had  commenced  an  action  for  "words"  (in 
which  a  penny  damages  would  frequently  carry  five  or 
six  pounds  of  costs)  : — 


The  whole  concarn  of  the  waping  tax  was  in  this 
way.  My  wief  lost  a  new  cloak  and  the  woman  that 
lived  in  our  room  was  in  and  out  for  too  or  three  ours 
aftar  we  went  to  bed,  then  I  went  the  next  night  and 
spoke  to  hur  why  she  was  in  and  out  tell  2  or  3  in 

the  morning.     She  went  to  Mr.  in  the  square  and 

sent  me  a  waping  tax,  which  I  was  very  straing  in 
the  concarn  of  it  and  what  was  best  to  do.  the  wief 

and    I    went   to    and    told    him    my   situatiun    and 

It  was  very  roagish  mater,  that  what  I  did  say  to  the 
woman  was  in  the  room  only  both  and  no  witness. 
All  this  would  not  doo  I  must  pay  to  him  £1,  IDS.  od. 
or  elce  my  goods  must  go.  we  praid  and  tould  him 
that  we  had  5  small  children  and  was  very  hard  with 

LORDSHIP   OF   JOHN   WILLIAMS,    1820-1829     89 

us.  then  he  said  he  would  take  £i,  55.  7^d.  then  the 
we  agreed  to  pay  so  much  a  wick,  so  that  we  paid 
so  far  as  us.  and  then  my  wief  throw  povarty  mised  2 
wick,  and  the  3  wick  on  wensday  at  noon  he  sent  3 
of  his  booms  to  our  house.  Wei  thay  would  not  go 
out  of  the  house  without  £2,  los.  7^d.  more,  then 
oi  did  as  wel  with  them  as  oi  could,  then  they  did 

agree  to  take    £it    55.    od.    and    pay  to  the   other 

£it  55.  7^d.,  so  i  did  at  2s.  per  wick.  So  to  remain 
your  humble  sarvant 

DAVID  EDWARDS         In  Crump  St. 

To  the  credit  of  the  Earl  of  Sefton  it  must  be  said 
that  he  was  unaware  of  the  existence  of  such  scandalous 
practices  in  connection  with  his  Court,  and  he  at  once  had 
new  rules  prepared  to  prevent  such  occurrences  in  future. 

After  the  expiration  of  Glegg's  lease  of  the  Hundred 
of  Wirral,  one  might  therefore  have  thought  the  Crown 
would  have  refrained  from  giving  to  any  one  the  oppor- 
tunity of  pillaging  the  poor  of  Cheshire  in  the  guise  of 
justice.  It  was,  however,  too  much  to  expect  that  in  the 
reign  of  George  III.  official  notice  would  be  taken  of  such 
matters,  and  not  only  did  the  Crown  prolong  the  existence 
of  the  Wirral  Court,  but  they  parted  for  ever  with  any 
control  over  it.  By  selling  the  franchise  outright  they 
placed  in  the  hands  of  a  succession  of  unscrupulous 
persons  a  weapon  which,  for  nearly  forty  years,  hung 
threateningly  over  the  heads  of  the  inhabitants  of  Wirral 


or  descended  to  maim  and  cripple  them.  During1  the  few 
years  following  the  expiration  of  Glegg's  lease  the  Crown 
had  several  applications  from  other  persons  for  the  Hun- 
dred, but  eventually  the  Commissioners  of  Woods  and 
Forests  (in  whom  Crown  franchises  were  now  vested)  de- 
cided to  sell  it  by  public  auction.  Two  reasons  appear  to 
have  influenced  them.  In  the  first  place  they  were  advised 
that  the  possession  of  the  lordship  of  Wirral  would  very 
probably  attract  one  of  the  large  landowners  in  the 
Hundred,  such  as  Sir  Thomas  Stanley  (of  Hooton)  or  an- 
other, who  might  consider  it  an  honourable  appurtenance 
to  his  estates,  and  in  the  second  place  the  Commissioners 
were  busy  selling-  Crown  lands  under  the  Claremont 
Estate  Act. 

Owing  to  frequent  improvident  grants  by  the  Crown 
of  royal  revenues  and  franchises,  particularly  by  William 
III.,  various  Acts,  dating  from  the  first  year  of  Queen 
Anne's  reign,  had  been  passed,  the  effect  of  which  was 
that  all  grants  or  leases  from  the  Crown  of  any  royal 
manors  or  franchises  for  any  longer  term  than  thirty-one 
years  or  three  lives  were  (with  certain  immaterial  excep- 
tions) void.  It  was  necessary,  therefore,  before  the 
Commissioners  of  Woods  and  Forests  could  sell  any  of 
them,  that  they  should  have  power  to  do  so  by  Act  of 
Parliament.  The  power  to  sell  in  this  case  was  given  by 
an  Act1  passed  in  1815  "for  ratifying  the  purchase  of  the 
Claremont  Estate  and  for  settling  the  same  as  a  residence 

1  56  Geo.  III.  c.  115. 

LORDSHIP  OF  JOHN  WILLIAMS,    1820-1829     9' 

for  Her  Royal  Highness  the  Princess  Charlotte  Augusta 
and  His  Serene  Highness  Leopold  George  Frederick, 
Prince  of  Coburg  and  Saalfield." 

Under  this  Act  the  manors  of  Esher  and  Milbourne, 
together  with  the  mansion-house  "  Claremont," l  were 
bought  by  the  Crown  for  ,£66,000,  which  was  payable  in  cash 
produced  by  the  sale  of  3  per  cent,  consolidated  annuities. 
The  property  was  vested  in  the  Commissioners  of  Woods 
and  Forests,  who  were  given  power  to  sell  Crown  lands 
and  franchises  in  order  to  raise  the  money  to  replace 
the  3  per  cent,  annuities  which  had  been  sold;  and  the 
Hundred  franchise  of  Wirral  was  one  of  the  properties 
sold  under  this  Act.  Its  annual  value  by  a  recent  survey 
was  at  this  time  set  down  as  only  £i,  i5s.,2  although  the 
rent  last  reserved  was,  as  we  know,  ^"2,  us.  8d. 

The  Hundred  Court  was  advertised  for  sale  by  Messrs. 
Potts  &  Co.  of  Chester,  on  November  16,  1819.  As  a 
further  inducement  to  purchasers,  three  privileges  were 
added  to  the  franchise  which  had  never  been  leased  out 
with  it  by  the  Crown.  They  were  the  rights  to  "  wreck," 
to  "royal  fish,"  and  to  " treasure  trove";  in  other  re- 
spects the  franchise  as  offered  for  sale  was  the  same  as 
that  possessed  by  the  Gleggs. 

1  Claremont  had  been  built  by  Lord  Clive  at  a  cost  of  £100,000  on  the  site  of  a 
house  built  by  Sir  John  Vanbrugh,  the  architect.     After  passing   through  various 
hands,  it  was   acquired   as  above  for  a   royal  residence.     Princess    Charlotte   died 
there  in  1817,  and  the  King  of  the  Belgians  appropriated  it  for  the  use  of  the  royal 
Orleans  family  after  their  exile  from  France  in  1848.     Queen  Victoria  acquired  the 
property  in  1882-83,  and  it  became  the  residence  of  the  Duchess  of  Albany. 

2  Fourth  Report,  Commissioners  of  Woods,  &c.,  1823. 


The  auction  took  place  at  the  "  Pied  Bull,"  the  quaint 
old  hostelry  still  standing  in  Northgate,  Chester,  and  the 
strange  sight  was  witnessed  of  a  law  court,  with  all  its 
attendant  rights,  being  put  up  to  sale  to  the  highest 
bidder.  John  Williams,  attorney,  of  Liverpool,  offered 
the  most  money,  and  the  Hundred  of  Wirral  was  knocked 
down  to  him  for  ,£230. 

Williams  was  a  son  of  Samuel  Williams  of  Great 
Neston  in  Wirral.  He  appears  as  an  attorney  from  1816 
onwards,  and  had  his  residence  in  Nelson  Street,  St.  James, 
Liverpool.  His  office  was  in  Union  Court,  Castle  Street, 
which  is  still  tenanted  mainly  by  lawyers.  In  subsequent 
years  Williams  resided  in  Seacombe  on  account  of  his 
health.  So  far  as  can  be  gathered,  and  up  to  a  certain 
point,  he  seems  to  have  been  a  respectable  person  and  to 
have  had  a  fair  practice  as  a  solicitor. 

The  sale  was  completed  on  the  8th  April  1820,  upon 
which  day  the  ^230  was  paid  into  the  Bank  of  England. 
A  copy  of  the  deed  of  grant  appears  in  Mortimer's  "His- 
tory of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral,"1  but  it  is  very  inaccurate 
and  incomplete.  In  this  copy  the  price  is  stated  to  be 
^500.  It  seems  scarcely  likely  that  this  was  a  clerical 
error,  and  it  is  probable  that  an  incorrect  copy  of  the 
grant  was  purposely  supplied  to  Mortimer  in  order  to 
magnify  the  importance  of  the  Hundred  Court.  This 
supposition  is  strengthened  by  the  fact  that  the  copy  in 
Mortimer  omits  entirely  a  long  paragraph  in  the  original 

1  Pp.  154-5.     A  complete  copy  appears  at  Appendix  II.  No.  17  to  this  book. 

LORDSHIP   OF  JOHN   WILLIAMS,    1820-1829     93 

grant  containing  various  excepted  fines  and  amercements, 
and  certain  powers,  which  were  reserved  to  the  Crown. 
The  owner  of  the  Court  would,  no  doubt,  be  quite  willing 
to  create  the  impression  that  a  high  price  had  been  paid 
for  the  privileges,  and  that  his  powers  were  not  in  any 
way  curtailed.1 

A  few  words  must  be  said  about  the  new  rights  which 
Williams  succeeded  in  obtaining. 

The  right  to  "wreck"  was  essentially  a  royal  pre- 
rogative and  was  frequently  granted  out  to  lords  of 
manors.  No  doubt  Williams  thought  it  might  constitute 
a  right  of  considerable  value,  having  regard  to  the  situa- 
tion of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral.  Dr.  Redhead  (vicar  of 
Rock  Ferry  from  1844  and  previously  curate  at  Bebing- 
ton)  states  he  did  not  think  that  Williams  had  any  idea 
that  he  was  entitled  to  flotsam  and  jetsam,  but  that 
Moreton  (who,  as  we  shall  see,  subsequently  became 
Lord  of  the  Hundred)  examined  his  powers  more  closely 
and  found  himself  entitled  to  these  things  and  more  of 
which  his  predecessors  had  not  dreamt.  It  is  noticeable, 
however,  that  there  is  no  express  mention  of  flotsam  and 
jetsam  in  the  deed  of  1820,  and  it  was  decided  in  the  year 
1601 2  that  in  a  royal  grant  of  "wrecks,"  things  flotsam 
and  jetsam  were  not  included,  but  only  wreck  actually 
thrown  up  or  stranded  on  the  coast. 

By  granting  "wreck"  in   the   Hundred  of  Wirral   to 

1  Mr.  Peacock,  the  steward,  was  one  of  the  original  subscribers  to   Mortimer's 
book,  and  doubtless  supplied  the  so-called  copy  of  the  deed. 
*  Constable's  Case,  5  Co.  Rep.  107. 


Williams  the  Crown  were  clearly  infringing  on  the  rights 
of  the  numerous  lords  of  manors  there  who  already 
enjoyed  the  right  to  it,  and  we  shall  see  later  on  that  the 
power  of  the  Crown  to  make  such  a  grant  was  challenged 
and  the  claim  of  the  Lord  of  Wirral  disallowed.  Pro- 
bably " wreck"  was  deliberately  inserted  by  the  Crown 
officials,  as  they  were  at  this  time  actively  engaged  in 
urging  the  Crown's  claim  both  to  it  and  to  foreshore  all 
over  the  kingdom. 

The  right  to  royal  fish — i.e.  whale  and  sturgeon  cast 
ashore  or  caught  near  the  coast — was  one  frequently 
granted  away  by  the  Crown  elsewhere,  but  in  the  case  of 
Cheshire  it  seems  to  have  been  jealously  preserved.1  The 
capture  of  a  sturgeon  was  a  matter  of  some  importance. 
Among  the  records  of  the  Corporation  of  Chester  are 
copies  of  letters  from  the  Mayor  of  Chester  to  the  Lord 
Chamberlain  in  July  1593,  announcing  the  capture  of  a 
sturgeon,  which  was  brought  before  the  Mayor.  This  fish 
seems  to  have  been  taken  on  the  Wirral  side  of  the  Dee, 
near  Blacon,  and  a  dispute  arose  between  the  Mayor  and 
Richard  Trevor  of  Trevallin,  who  alleged  it  was  taken  on 
the  Welsh  side  of  the  river,  and  belonged  to  him  as  Vice- 
Admiral  or  representative  of  the  Lord  High  Admiral. 
Perhaps  it  was  in  consequence  of  this  dispute  that  Queen 

1  By  decree  of  the  Admiralty  Court,  20  Hen.  VIII.,  the  Prior  of  Birkenhead  was 
declared  entitled  to  royal  fish,  wreck,  flotsam,  jetsam,  lagan,  deodands,  &c.,  within 
certain  limits  on  the  Mersey.  Harl.  MSS.  2010,  f.  208  (48).  But  in  his  plea  to  Quo 
warranto,  27  Ed.  III.,  the  Prior  had  disclaimed  wreck  and  royal  fish  ;  and  it  does  not 
appear  how  the  Priory  subsequently  acquired  the  right  to  them. 

LORDSHIP  OF  JOHN   WILLIAMS,    1820-1829     95 

Elizabeth  appointed  a  special  commission1  in  1596  con- 
sisting1 of  Peter  Warburton,  serjeant-at-law,  and  Hugh 
Beston,  the  Receiver-General  for  North  Wales,  to  inquire 
into  the  capture  of  royal  fish  on  the  coast  of  Cheshire. 
The  letters  patent  recited  that  it  had  been  a  palatine 
franchise  from  time  immemorial  to  have  all  royal  fish, 
such  as  whales,  sturgeon,  and  "thorlhede"  (porpoise), 
caught  in  or  about  the  shores  of  Cheshire,  brought  to  the 
Castle  of  Chester,  where  the  customary  fee  was  paid  to 
the  captor.  But  for  some  years  the  capture  of  such  fish 
had  been  concealed  and  not  reported,  so  that  the  per- 
quisites were  being  lost.  Accordingly,  juries  were  to  be 
impanelled  at  the  Hundred  Courts  of  Wirral,  Eddisbury, 
and  Bucklow  as  those  bordering  on  the  sea  and  the  rivers 
Dee  and  Mersey,  and  witnesses  examined,  in  order  to  ascer- 
tain on  oath  what  royal  fish  had  been  caught  and  by  whom. 
The  commissioners  were  given  power  to  enter  the  liberties, 
and  were  to  make  a  report  to  the  next  county  sessions 
at  Chester,  and  preserve  the  right  of  the  Crown  to  fines. 

Williams,  therefore,  obtained  a  right  which  at  one 
time  was  considered  of  considerable  value.  But  the 
silting  up  of  the  Dee  and  the  growing  shipping  of  the 
Mersey  made  it  unlikely  that  he  or  his  successors  would 
benefit  by  the  capture  of  many  whales  or  sturgeons  in 
the  nineteenth  century.2 

1  C.  R.  R.  261,  m.  7,  5.     A  translation  is  printed  in  "  The  Cheshire  Sheaf"  (3rd 
Sen),  vol.  iv.  p.  6. 

2  A  curious  seventeenth-century  ballad  giving-  a  description   of  a  strange  and 
miraculous  fish  (a  whale)  cast  up  on  the  meads  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral,  is  printed 
in  "The  Cheshire  Sheaf"  (3rd  Sen),  vol.  iii.  p.  6. 


The  right  to  " treasure  trove"  does  not  seem  ever 
to  have  been  exercised,  but  as  the  records  of  coroners' 
inquests  are  not  preserved,  it  has  not  been  possible  to 
make  sure. 

From  this  date  to  the  abolition  of  the  Court  of  the 
Hundred  its  reputation  rapidly  declined.  Under  the 
guise  of  the  administration  of  justice,  the  process  of  the 
Court  was  used  to  oppress  and  harass  the  inhabitants 
of  Wirral.  Protests  and  appeals  were  unavailing,  as 
the  power  of  the  Court  was  clear  and  the  title  of  its 
owner  beyond  dispute.  Owing,  however,  to  the  fact 
that  there  were  very  few  newspapers  circulating  in 
Wirral  at  this  date  there  has  been  difficulty  in  ob- 
taining definite  information  of  the  proceedings  of  the 
Court.  Dr.  Redhead  records,  however,  that  ^100  as 
a  fine  or  damages  were  obtained  by  Williams  from 
Archdeacon  Clarke,  vicar  of  Eastham,  for  an  informal 
committal  as  magistrate,  for  which  he  was  summoned 
before  the  Hundred  Court,  whilst  a  similar  claim 
against  the  rector  of  Bebington,  caused  by  a  mistake 
of  the  Justice's  clerk,  was  compounded  for  ^5  and  ex- 

But  John  Williams  did  not  enjoy  the  fruits  of  his 
enterprise  long,  as,  in  1829,  he  was  convicted  of  forgery. 
The  conviction  in  those  days  would  have  had  the  effect 
of  causing,  by  attainder,  a  forfeiture  to  the  Crown  of 
all  his  possessions,  including  the  right  to  the  Hundred 
Court,  but,  by  previously  executing  a  mortgage  of  all 

LORDSHIP   OF   JOHN   WILLIAMS,    1820-1829     97 

his  property,  he  avoided  this.  A  small  pamphlet,1  printed 
in  Liverpool,  gives  an  account  of  the  trial,  which  took 
place  at  Lancaster  Assizes  before  Mr.  Justice  Bailey  on 
the  1 3th  March  1829,  and  excited  great  and  painful  in- 
terest. It  appeared  that  in  1825  Williams  had  forged  the 
signature  of  one  William  Garner  to  a  mortgage  deed  of 
land  in  Birkenhead  in  favour  of  a  Miss  Mather  (afterwards 
Mrs.  M'Clelland)  who  was  one  of  Williams'  clients.  This 
lady  advanced  ^650  on  the  forged  deed,  and  Williams 
misappropriated  the  money.  It  is  believed,  and  at  any 
rate  it  is  charitable  to  suppose,  that  Williams  obtained 
an  advance  from  his  father  whilst  in  prison  awaiting  trial, 
in  order  to  make  restitution  to  Miss  Mather.  Whether 
this  was  his  object,  or  whether  it  was  done  to  avoid  for- 
feiture, or  to  raise  money  for  his  defence,  is  unknown, 
but  by  mortgage  deeds 2  of  23rd  and  24th  February 
1829,  he  transferred  the  Hundred  Court  and  all  the 
rest  of  his  property  to  his  father,  Samuel  Williams, 
in  return  for  an  advance  of  ,£600  and  further  future 
advances  not  exceeding  in  all  ^1000.  The  result  of  this 
transaction,  effected  probably  in  view  of  his  certain  con- 
viction, was  that  Williams  divested  himself  of  what  is 
called  the  legal  estate  in  the  Hundred  of  Wirral,  and, 
by  his  conviction,  only  forfeited  the  right  to  pay  off  the 
mortgage  and  so  get  his  property  back.  The  position 
was  curiously  complicated  by  the  fact  that  he  himself 

1  "  The  Trial  of  John  Williams  for  Forgery,"  printed  by  W.  Bethell,  No.  9  William- 
son Street,  Liverpool,  1829. 

3  In  the  possession  of  F.  E.  Roberts,  Esq.,  solicitor,  Chester. 



as  Lord  of  the  Hundred  was  entitled  to  the  property  of 
convicted  felons. 

The  bill  of  indictment  at  the  trial  was  thirty  feet  long 
and  contained  sixteen  counts  and  500  law  folios  of  words. 
Williams  was  sentenced  to  death,  but  the  jury  recom- 
mended him  to  mercy  on  the  score  of  his  previous  good 
conduct  to  his  wife  and  four  children.  Before  leaving 
the  assizes  the  judge  reprieved  him,  and  eventually  his 
sentence  was  commuted  to  transportation  for  life.  Ac- 
cording to  Mrs.  Gamlin  and  Dr.  Redhead,  the  trans- 
ported convict  (called  by  the  latter  "Roger"  Williams) 
eventually  became  very  wealthy  in  the  colonies  and  kept 
up  a  large  establishment  there.  However  this  may  be, 
he  disappears  entirely  from  the  history  of  the  Hundred 

In  1828  Common  Law  Commissioners  had  been  ap- 
pointed to  inquire  into  the  extent  of  the  jurisdiction  and 
authority  of  all  borough  and  other  local  courts  throughout 
the  Kingdom,  but,  although  the  Hundred  Court  of  Wirral 
appears  in  the  list  of  courts,1  no  returns  were  made  to 
the  inquiries  of  the  commissioners.  The  reason  was 
possibly  the  conviction  of  John  Williams,  and  the  fact 
that  his  father  had  not,  when  their  report  was  issued,  re- 
started the  sittings  of  the  Court. 

1  4th  Report,  Pt.  II.  App.  i.  38. 



Samuel  Williams  —  John  Peacock,  the  steward  —  Parliamentary  Return  for  the 
Court — Number  of  cases — Distringas  and  Replevin — Profits — Dr.  Redhead's 
effort  to  extinguish  the  Court — Sittings  at  Neston — Death  of  Samuel  Williams 
— His  will— Bequest  of  the  Hundred  to  his  grandson,  Samuel  Spencer. 

SAMUEL  WILLIAMS  was  now,  by  virtue  of  the  deed  of 
1829,  the  Lord  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral,  and  owner  of 
all  the  rights  possessed  by  his  son.  He  resided  at  Great 
Neston,  and  was  born  in  the  year  1768,  so  that  he  was 
sixty-one  years  old  when  he  became  Lord  of  Wirral.  He 
was  a  man  of  little  or  no  education. 

There  is  not  very  much  information  available  of  the 
history  of  the  Court  whilst  he  owned  it,  but  there  is  no 
doubt  he  took  advantage  of  his  rights.  Probably  the 
Court  was  not  active  again  until  1835,  when,  as  was 
customary  and  necessary,  a  member  of  the  legal  profes- 
sion was  appointed  by  Williams  as  steward  and  judge, 
to  preside  over  and  control  the  proceedings  of  the  Court. 
John  Peacock,  who  was  appointed  steward  of  the  Hundred 
Court,  was  born  about  the  year  1798.  He  was  a  solicitor, 
and  in  1829  he  became  a  member  of  the  Liverpool  Law 
Society,  which  had  then  been  founded  only  two  years. 
He  was  president  of  the  Society  in  1843-44,  and  was  the 
founder  of  the  late  firm  of  Liverpool  solicitors  called 



Peacock,  Cooper,  &  Gregory.  Mr.  Peacock  died  on  the 
24th  May  1886,  aged  eighty-eight,  and  was  buried  in 
Smithdown  Cemetery,  Liverpool. 

From  a  Parliamentary  Return  of  I84O1  we  can  obtain 
some  official  details  of  the  Wirral  Hundred  Court  at  this 
period  furnished  by  the  steward.  The  jurisdiction  of 
the  Court  was  there  stated  to  extend  over  the  Hundred 
of  Wirral :  and  the  Court  had  cognisance  of  all  debts 
and  demands  under  403.  (a  limit  fixed,  as  we  have  seen, 
by  the  statute  of  Gloucester  in  the  time  of  Edward  I.). 
The  officers  of  the  Court  at  this  date  were  the  steward 
and  the  owner  Williams,  who  acted  as  clerk.  The  duty 
of  the  latter  was  to  issue  writs,  to  file  process,  and 
conduct  the  ordinary  business  of  the  Court,  but  he  was 
not  allowed  to  issue  execution  in  any  case  without  per- 
sonally making  the  steward  acquainted  with  the  circum- 
stances. The  office  of  the  Court  (presumably  at  Neston) 
was  open  daily  from  10  to  4  for  all  purposes  connected 
with  its  business,  and  the  steward  sat  every  fourth 
Monday  for  the  trial  of  causes,  hearing  motions,  &c. 
The  extent  of  the  business  is  shown  by  the  fact  that  in 
1836  there  were  195  suits  entered,  in  1837,  191,  and  in 
1838,  181,  and  that  at  the  time  of  the  Return,  there 
were  138  actions  pending  in  which  the  officer  of  the 
Court  was  receiving  the  debt  and  costs  by  instalments. 

1  Relating  to  Courts  of  Requests,  Courts  of  Conscience,  and  other  local  courts. 
Parl.  Papers,  vol.  xli.  It  appears  from  this  Return  that  the  only  other  Hundred 
Courts  alive  at  this  date  in  Cheshire  were  those  of  Bucklow  and  Macclesfield — neither 
of  which  were  doing  much  business. 

LORDSHIP  OF  SAMUEL  WILLIAMS,  1829-1853    101 

Among  the  processes  of  the  Court  mentioned  in  the 
Return  was  that  of  "distringas,"  which,  in  the  Hundred 
Courts,  operated  to  create  great  hardship.  Upon  pro- 
ceedings being  commenced  to  recover,  say,  a  debt  of 
2S.  6d.,  the  defendant,  probably  a  poor  person,  had  to 
enter  an  appearance  to  the  action,  and  unless  he  could 
afford  to  pay  an  attorney  los.  for  doing  so,  what  was 
known  as  a  "distringas  "  was  levied  upon  his  goods  to 
compel  him  to  appear,  and  all  his  property  could  be 
taken  and  sold  by  way  of  penalty.  The  proceeds  did  not 
go  in  any  way  in  reduction  of  the  debt,  and  the  distringas 
might  be  levied  three  different  times  unless  an  appear- 
ance was  entered  by  the  defendant.  The  severity  and 
injustice  of  this  process  was  one  of  the  strongest  argu- 
ments for  the  abolition  of  the  Hundred  Courts.1 

Another  process  which  caused  great  hardship  and 
oppression  was  that  of  "  replevin"  which  consisted  in 
a  distraint  upon  the  goods  and  chattels  of  the  person  in 
default  who  could  only  "replevy"  or  take  them  back  upon 
complying  with  the  order  of  the  Court.  This  process  was 
chiefly  used  to  exact  payment  of  fines,  but  also  to  enforce 
the  attendance  of  jurors,  whose  goods  were  seized  and  held 
until  they  did  suit  and  service  to  the  Hundred  Court.2 

1  See  a  petition  for  the  abolition  of  the  Hundred  Court  of  Hemlingford,  set  out  in 
an  interesting  paper  on  "The  Hundreds  of  Warwickshire,"  by  B.Walker,  A.R.I.B.A., 
vol.  xxxi.,  Transactions  of  the  Birmingham  Archaeological  Society. 

2  The  cost  of  issuing  any  process  was  at  this  date  not  less  than  8s.  sd.,  whilst  the 
fees  alone  in  the  case  of  a  trial  by  jury  exceeded  the  limit  of  the  Court's  jurisdiction  and 
ranged  from  £2,  gs.  6d.  to  £2,  153.     There  was  an  additional  charge  of  6d.  per  mile  for 
serving  the  summons  and  a  fee  of  8d.  to  the  bailiff  for  doing  so. 


The  Return  already  mentioned  states  that  in  the 
three  years  1836  to  1838  there  were  thirty-three  execu- 
tions, all  against  the  goods  of  the  debtor,  as  there  was 
no  power  to  issue  one  against  the  person.  The  steward 
adds  a  note  that  an  execution  was  never  allowed  to 
issue  if  it  could  possibly  be  avoided,  as  it  was  often 
ruinous  to  the  parties,  who  were  generally  labouring 
men  ;  and  in  all  cases  before  issuing  it,  the  clerk  of  the 
Court  was  required  to  send  a  printed  circular  intimating 
to  the  parties  the  consequence  of  not  paying  the  debt 
and  costs.  It  seems  likely  that  this  explanatory  and 
gratuitous  note  was  caused  by  the  complaints  of  the 
oppressive  nature  of  the  proceedings  of  the  Court,  which 
were  being  made  about  this  time.  A  further  note  states 
that  as  a  considerable  part  of  the  business  of  the  Court 
came  from  Birkenhead,  the  clerk  of  the  Court  attended 
in  the  neighbourhood  every  week  for  the  convenience 
of  suitors. 

The  net  profits  of  the  Court  were  at  this  date  equally 
divided  between  the  owner  and  the  steward,  and  the 
Return  states  that  "for  the  last  three  years  they  amounted 
to  ^285,  93.  3d."  Presumably  this  is  the  aggregate  for 
the  three  years  and  not  the  annual  figure.  It  represents 
less  than  ^100  per  annum  for  division  between  Williams 
and  his  steward,  and  it  seems  somewhat  strange  that  a 
man  of  Peacock's  position  in  his  profession  should  have 
found  it  worth  while  to  sit  every  month  and  to  manage 
the  Court  for  ^50  a  year. 

LORDSHIP  OF  SAMUEL  WILLIAMS,  1829-1853    103 

Dr.  Redhead l  gives  an  account  of  the  proceedings  of 
the  Wapentake  Court  about  this  date,  and  when  he  was 
curate  of  Bebington,  in  which  he  relates  his  efforts  to 
extinguish  the  Court  owing  to  the  unjust  and  oppressive 
nature  of  its  proceedings.  Dr.  Redhead  states  that  about 
the  year  1834  the  possessor  of  the  Court  was  "John 
Williams,  the  father  of  Roger,  both  attorneys,  the  latter 
having  been  transported  in  1833."  There  seems  to  be  no 
record  of  any  one  named  Roger  Williams  ever  having  been 
connected  with  the  Court,  nor  was  there  a  Roger  Williams, 
attorney  ;  and  there  is  no  doubt,  as  we  have  seen,  that  it 
was  John  Williams  the  son  who  was  transported,  and 
Samuel  Williams  the  father  who  owned  the  Court  in  1834. 
Dr.  Redhead  goes  on  to  say  that  at  the  time  "the  County 
Courts  Bill,  which  extinguished  all  minor  courts  was 
agitated,"  and  that  he  endeavoured,  by  appeals  to  Lord 
Tollemache,  Sir  Philip  Egerton,  and  others,  to  get  the 
Wapentake  Court  of  Wirral  included  in  the  schedule,  but 
was  unsuccessful.  Probably  he  referred  to  the  Bill  which 
became  the  County  Courts  Act,  1846,  and  contained  a 
schedule  of  local  Courts  of  Request,  which  were  thence- 
forth to  be  held  as  County  Courts,  and  to  which  the 
County  Court  rules  and  regulations  were  to  apply.  As 
the  Hundred  Court  of  Wirral  was  not  a  Court  of  Request, 
and  had  not  been  constituted  by  Act  of  Parliament,  it 
would  not  naturally  be  one  of  the  Courts  to  appear  in  the 

schedule,   and  special  provision  would   have   had   to   be 


1     In  "  A  Free  Village  Library." 


made  in  the  Act  for  its  extinction,  which  Dr.  Redhead 
failed  to  obtain.  A  special  Act  for  the  purpose  was 
suggested,  but  the  expense  of  obtaining  it  was  prohibi- 
tive. Dr.  Redhead's  efforts  were,  however,  so  far  suc- 
cessful that  Williams  ceased  to  harry  his  parishioners. 
The  establishment  of  these  Courts  of  Requests  and  their 
development  into  the  new  County  Courts  was  another 
nail  in  the  coffin  of  the  Hundred  Courts. 

During  the  ownership  of  Samuel  Williams  the  Court 
was  held  at  Neston  (then  the  largest  township  in  Wirral) 
in  the  building  situated  at  the  northern  corner  of  what  is 
known  as  Pykes  Weint.  There  Dr.  Redhead  appeared 
to  intercede  on  behalf  of  several  poor  persons  who  had 
been  fined  or  summoned,  and  found  the  old  man  Williams 
seated  in  a  chair  placed  on  a  table.  (Possibly  this  was 
before  Peacock  was  appointed  to  preside  as  steward.)  In 
reply  to  a  demand  for  his  authority,  Williams  said  he  had 
bought  his  privileges  for  a  thousand  pounds  and  there  he 
would  sit  in  spite  of  Dr.  Redhead  or  any  one  else  ;  but  he 
added,  "Give  me  my  money  and  I  will  give  up  my  rights." 
If  Williams  was  speaking  the  truth,  then  it  would  seem 
that,  in  addition  to  the  ^600  advanced  to  his  son  whilst  in 
prison,  he  had  made  the  further  advances  necessary  to 
bring  the  amount  owing  on  the  mortgage  of  1829  up  to 
the  figure  of  £1000  contemplated  by  the  deed,  but  it  will 
be  seen  later  on  that  he  refers  in  his  will  to  the  amount 
owing  as  only  ^600. 

In  spite  of  his  age,  Samuel  Williams  continued  to  hold 

LORDSHIP  OF  SAMUEL  WILLIAMS,  1829-1853    105 

the  Court,  certainly  until  1847,  as  Mortimer  in  his  "  History 
of  Wirral "  (published  in  that  year)  mentions  that  he  was 
then  holding"  it.  The  old  man  was,  however,  in  his  dotage, 
and  ceased  to  hold  the  Court  for  the  last  few  years  of  his 
life.  He  died  on  May  14,  1853,  aged  eighty-five,  and  was 
buried  at  Great  Neston  parish  church  on  the  i8th  May. 
His  will  was  proved  at  Chester  on  i6th  October  of  the 
same  year.  It  was  dated  July  23,  1850,  and  in  it  he  is 
described  as  "a  gentleman."  He  appointed  his  friends 
James  Woodward  of  Great  Neston,  schoolmaster,  and 
Benjamin  Maddocks  of  the  same  place,  butcher,  his 
general  executors.  He  left  legacies  to  his  grandson, 
Samuel  Spencer,  and  his  grand-daughter,  Sarah  Jones, 
the  children  of  his  deceased  daughter,  Jane  Jones.  He 
bequeathed  to  his  grandson,  Samuel  Spencer,  the  ^600 
due  in  respect  of  the  mortgage  of  1829,  and  devised  to 
him  the  Hundred^  of  Wirral  and  all  the  other  property 
included  in  the  mortgage.  Further,  he  appointed  Spencer 
as  executor  in  respect  of  the  ^600,  although  (he  says  in 
his  will)  "I  do  not  expect  the  same  to  be  recovered." 
The  will  was  witnessed  by  "his  friend"  John  Peacock, 
the  steward.  The  value  of  his  personal  estate  (other  than 
the  ^600  due  on  the  mortgage)  was  under  ^2000.  A 
second  grant  of  probate  was  made  on  the  23rd  August 
1854  to  Samuel  Spencer  as  executor  in  respect  of  the 
;£6oo.  Apparently  he  had  not  considered  it  worth  while 
till  then  to  prove  his  title  to  the  mortgaged  Hundred 
franchise,  but  there  is  with  the  probate  papers  at  Chester 


a  letter,  dated  at  Liverpool  on  August  19,  1854,  from 
Robert  Grace,  solicitor,  to  the  registrar  of  wills,  Chester, 
saying  that  Samuel  Spencer  had  sold  his  interest  in  the 
Hundred  of  Wirral,  which  was  given  to  him  under  his 
grandfather's  will,  to  Grace's  client,  Mr.  Samuel  Holland 
Moreton,  for  ^100,  less  expenses. 

Two  new  and  striking  characters  now  appear  upon 
the  scene,  and  the  remainder  of  the  history  of  the 
Hundred  Court  centres  round  their  proceedings. 



Sale  of  the  Hundred  to  Moreton — Account  of  him — The  Wapentake  Court 
revived  at  Neston,  1854 — Robert  Grace,  the  steward — His  disreputable 
character — Contempt  of  Court — Mr.  Thomas  Smith's  experience — His 
appointment  as  affeeror — Oath  of  affeeror — Fines  for  encroachments — 
Unwilling  jurymen — Fines  of  Bebington  residents — Jurisdiction  over  high- 
ways enforced — The  Railway  Company  forced  to  repair  the  bridge  at  Tran- 
mere — The  reeve  and  ale-taster — Description  of  the  Court  at  Tranmere  Castle 
Hotel — Moreton  claims  the  foreshore — Cases  at  the  Wapentake  Court. 

THE  notorious  Samuel  Holland  Moreton  was  himself  a 
solicitor,  and  so  far  as  he  is  connected  with  the  Hundred 
Court,  he  appears  nearly  always  to  have  been  in  alliance 
with  Grace  ;  probably  it  was  Grace's  idea  that  Moreton 
should  acquire,  and  exploit  for  what  they  were  worth, 
the  rights  of  the  Hundred  Court,  which  had  fallen  into 
disuse  during  the  last  years  of  the  life  of  Samuel  Williams 
and  had  never  been  exercised  by  Spencer.  At  any  rate, 
working,  as  it  was  rumoured  at  the  time,  upon  the 
ignorance  or  poverty  of  Spencer,  they  induced  him  to 
part  with  his  rights  for  the  paltry  sum  of  ^99,  193. 
The  transaction  was  carried  out  by  a  deed,1  dated 
September  23,  1854,  made  between  Spencer  and  More- 
ton,  whereby  Spencer,  under  the  powers  of  sale  given 

1  In  the  possession  of  F.  E.  Roberts,  Esq.,  solicitor,  Chester. 


to  his  grandfather  by  the  mortgage  of  1829,  transferred 
to  Moreton  all  the  rights  over  the  Hundred  of  Wirral 
contained  in  the  Crown  grant  of  1820. 

Samuel  Holland  Moreton  was  born  about  1794.  He 
was  the  son  of  a  cobbler,  and  in  his  early  days  was 
himself  a  shoemaker,  but  forsook  that  occupation  for 
the  more  remunerative  one  of  lending  money.  He  also 
in  later  years  carried  on  the  business  of  a  licensed 
victualler  in  Liverpool.  In  1833  he  was  admitted  as  a 
solicitor,  and  appears  in  the  Law  List,  with  some  excep- 
tions, from  that  date  up  to  the  time  of  his  death.  He 
does  not  seem  to  have  practised  his  profession  to  any 
great  extent,  but  he  continued  his  money  lending,  from 
which  the  greater  part  of  his  fortune  was  derived.  At 
one  time  he  lived  at  Rose  Place,  Liverpool,  and  had 
an  office  in  Moorfields.  In  subsequent  years  he  lived 
in  Hunter  Street,  but  having  acquired  some  property 
in  Shaw's  Brow,  he  resided  there  until  his  death.  He 
was  a  member  of  the  Roman  Catholic  Church.  In  1838 
he  married  Agnes  Bell,  who  was  one  of  a  family  of 
twenty-one  (twenty  girls  and  one  boy),  the  children  of 
a  Liverpool  minister ! 

Moreton  is  described  as  a  man  of  avaricious  and 
penurious  tendencies,  combined  with  a  certain  eccen- 
tricity of  manner  which  served  to  cloak  his  real  char- 
acter. He  seems  to  have  been  entirely  unscrupulous, 
and,  whilst  it  was  in  his  hands  and  under  the  steward- 
ship of  Robert  Grace,  the  reputation  of  the  Wapentake 


Court  of  Wirral  became  blacker  than  ever.  At  the 
time  when  he  purchased  the  Court  he  was  comparatively 
well  off,  and  the  suggestion  that  the  money  he  left  at 
his  death  was  made  by  him  out  of  the  Court  has  no 

Moreton  was  not  long  before  he  acted  upon  the  rights 
acquired  from  Spencer,  for  in  less  than  a  month l  we  find 
in  most  of  the  local  papers  the  following  paragraph, 
obviously  inspired  by  him  : — 

"The  Neston  Wapentake  Court  which  had  fallen 
into  disuse  for  some  years,  has  again  been  revived,  and 
held  its  first  sitting  on  Monday  at  Great  Neston.  The 
Steward  or  Judge  of  the  Court  is  Mr.  Moreton,  Solicitor 
of  this  town,  who  has  appointed  Mr.  Robert  Grace, 
attorney,  to  be  his  deputy.  Mr.  Samuel  Spencer,  late 
district  officer  of  the  Birkenhead  County  Court,  has 
been  appointed  High  Bailiff  of  the  Court.  The  object 
of  the  Wapentake  is  the  recovery  of  small  debts,  and  it 
will,  we  hear,  besides  sitting  at  Neston,  hold  adjourned 
sittings  at  Birkenhead  and  Liscard  for  the  convenience 
of  suitors." 

It  will  be  observed  that  the  civil  or  Court  Baron 
jurisdiction  of  the  Court  is  alone  referred  to,  the  Court 
Leet  or  quasi-criminal  side  being  discreetly  omitted  from 
the  notice.  Spencer,  it  will  be  seen,  received  an  appoint- 

1  October  21,  1854. 


ment,  perhaps  as  part  of  the  bargain  effected  with  him 
by  Moreton.  The  first  sitting  of  the  Court  was  no  doubt 
formal,  and  no  business  seems  to  have  been  transacted. 

Robert  Grace,  generally  known  as  "Bob"  Grace, 
who  was  really  the  steward  and  judge,  was  born  about 
1810.  He  also  was  a  solicitor,  and  his  name  appears  in 
the  Law  List  fairly  regularly  from  1831.  Early  in  his 
career  he  lived  in  Olive  Mount  and  his  office  was  in 
South  Castle  Street,  but  subsequently  he  went  to  live 
at  Holt  Cottage,  Tranmere.  He  was  a  man  of  great 
ability,  but  a  most  eccentric  and  disreputable  character. 
He  had  a  high  idea  of  his  importance  as  steward,  and 
on  one  occasion  when  the  jurisdiction  of  his  Court  was 
disputed,  he  is  reported  to  have  exclaimed,  "Sir,  I 
would  have  you  know  that  my  Court  has  jurisdiction  over 
everything  except  murder,  piracy,  and  high  treason."1 
The  boys  in  the  streets  of  Tranmere,  where  the  Court 
was  often  held,  were  in  the  habit,  in  consequence  of  his 
important  air,  of  calling  him  "  Lord  Derby,"  and  once 
when  Grace  was  passing  through  the  streets  some  of 
them  made  a  chaffing  reference  to  "Lord  Derby's  cocks 
and  hens,"  which  seems  to  have  annoyed  him.  He 
struck  one  of  them  on  the  head  with  a  bag  containing 
a  legal  tome  entitled  "  Roscoe  on  Evidence,"  which,  as 
Grace's  solicitor  remarked,  "had  given  many  a  hard 
knock  in  its  time."  For  this  assault  Grace  was  fined.2 

1  "  W,"  in  Liverpool  Daily  Post,  Nov.  2,  1900. 
3  Liverpool  Chronicle^  July  14,  1855. 


He  was  also  fined  on  another  occasion  for  being  drunk 
and  creating  a  disturbance  at  the  overseer's  office  at 
Tranmere.1  The  overseer  stated  that  "the  judge"  made 
a  point  of  resorting  to  his  house  on  all  occasions  when 
he  so  far  forgot  his  judicial  dignity  as  to  give  way  to 
indulgence  in  drink,  and  that  the  day  after  the  disturb- 
ance he  added  insult  to  injury  by  summoning  the  over- 
seer to  serve  as  a  juror  to  the  Wapentake  Court. 

Grace  survived  several  years  after  Moreton's  death  in 
1869,  and  died  on  February  14,  1874,  being  found  lying 
head  downwards  at  the  bottom  of  the  stairs  of  his  office 
in  South  Castle  Street.  There  was  no  evidence  how  he 
came  to  fall,  but  he  had  been  seen  shortly  before  in  a 
state  of  intoxication. 

His  brains  probably  suggested  to  Moreton  the  acquisi- 
tion of  the  Court  as  a  means  of  exacting  money,  and  he 
seems  to  have  been  responsible  for  many  of  the  remarkable 
proceedings  that  occurred  during  his  stewardship.  He 
presided  in  Court  and  there  exercised  his  considerable 
legal  knowledge  in  devising  or  unearthing  fresh  and  safe 
methods  of  extortion.  One  of  the  safest  and  least  assail- 
able was  the  power  to  fine  for  contempt  of  Court.  As 
disobedience  to  any  order  was  treated  as  contempt,  it  can 
easily  be  imagined  how  dangerous  a  privilege  such  a  power 
could  be  in  the  hands  of  unscrupulous  persons  such  as 
Moreton  and  Grace.  Although  the  Wapentake  Court  had 
no  power  to  imprison  for  debt,  it  could  do  so  for  contempt, 

1  Liverpool  Chronicle  >  Sept.  i,  1855. 


and  it  is  said  (though  the  writer  cannot  check  this)  that 
Moreton  actually  had  persons  lodged  in  the  county  gaol 
until  a  fine  and  an  apology  were  forthcoming. 

Some  interesting  information  as  to  the  doings  of  More- 
ton's  Court  comes  from  Mr.  Thomas  Smith,  aged  eighty- 
five,  now  living  in  Cleveland  Street,  Birkenhead.  In  1855 
Smith  was  living  at  Windle  Hill,  near  Hinderton,  in  Wirral, 
and  one  day  when  he  was  at  work  in  his  garden,  a  man 
called  to  him  to  come  at  once  to  the  Wapentake  Court 
sitting  at  the  Inn  known  as  the  Shrewsbury  Arms,  Hin- 
derton. He  treated  the  summons  as  a  joke,  whereupon 
two  men  were  sent  and  Smith  was  haled  to  the  Court  in 
his  shirt-sleeves.  On  his  arrival  he  found  Moreton, 
Grace,  and  others  seated  at  a  table  spread  with  food  and 
drink.  Grace  informed  him  they  were  about  to  fine  him 
£20  for  not  coming  at  once,  and  that  it  was  no  joking 
matter.  Smith  was  appointed  one  of  the  "affeerors"  to 
the  Court  (an  honour  which  he  shared  with  Shakespeare, 
who  held  that  post  at  Stratford-on-Avon).  "Affeerors" 
or  "taxators"  were,  by  the  effect  of  Magna  Charta,  a 
necessary  feature  of  Hundred  Courts.  They  were  persons 
who,  upon  oath,  settled  and  moderated  the  fines  and 
amercements  imposed  for  offences  arbitrarily  punishable, 
or  that  had  no  express  penalty  appointed  by  statute.  No 
such  fine  could  be  inflicted  by  the  Court  until  approved  of 
by  the  affeerors,  except  in  the  case  of  a  suitor  present  in 
Court  who  refused  to  act  on  the  jury,  in  which  case  the 
steward  could  inflict  a  fine  without  consulting  the  affeerors. 


It  will  thus  be  seen  that  the  position  was  a  most  respons- 
ible one.     The  oath  of  the  affeeror  was  as  follows  : — 

"You  shall  swear  that  you  will  well  and  truly  tax, 
assess,  and  affier  all  the  amerciaments  presented  in  this 
Court,  and  in  doing  of  that  you  shall  not  spare  any  for 
love,  feare,  nor  affection,  nor  raise  nor  inhaunce  any  more 
grievous  than  shall  be  reasonable  according  to  their  deserts 
made,  and  not  more  nor  less,  nor  for  envy  nor  for  love 
assess  or  affier,  but  upon  every  one  severally  according 
to  the  quantity  of  their  offences  made  and  not  otherwise. 
So  help  you  God,  &C."1 

Smith  evidently  fulfilled  his  delicate  task  to  the  satis- 
faction of  the  Court,  as  he  acted  again  on  several  occasions, 
and  saved  many  of  his  friends  from  being  too  heavily  fined. 
In  one  case  a  neighbour  built  a  wall  for  safety  round  a 
pond  on  his  property  next  to  the  road.  He  was  summoned 
for  encroaching  upon  the  road,  and  the  Court  proposed 
a  fine  of  £20.  Smith,  as  affeeror,  objected  that  this  was 
excessive,  to  which  Grace,  the  steward,  replied,  "  Nonsense, 
who  is  to  pay  for  all  this  ?"  pointing  to  the  spread  upon 
the  table.  The  fine,  however,  was  reduced  to  £10,  as  the 
affeeror  stuck  to  his  guns.  The  offender  in  this  case  was 
probably  a  flour-dealer,  named  Chesworth,  of  Bebington, 
who,  according  to  Mr.  Thomas  Field,  built  a  house  at 
Windle  Hill,  and  was  fined  for  some  such  encroachment. 

1  Kitchin's  "Jurisdictions. 



In  spite  of  Smith's  efforts,  persons  were  fined  practically 
on  no  grounds,  the  sums  obtained  being  often  spent  in 
drink,  and  in  entertaining  any  one  in  favour  with  the  Court. 
The  members  of  the  Court,  with  a  packed  jury  consisting 
of  their  friends,  used  to  drive  out  from  Birkenhead  to 
Hinderton  in  an  omnibus.  They  were  usually  dressed  in 
shabby  black  tail  or  frock  coats,  and  their  appearance  can 
be  imagined  from  the  statement  of  a  witness  who  told  the 
writer  he  could  not  in  a  week's  time  collect  such  a  dis- 
reputable-looking crew  in  all  Liverpool. 

One  of  the  peculiar  powers  always  incident  to  a  Hun- 
dred Court  was  the  right  of  the  steward,  when  in  want 
of  jurors,  to  compel  strangers  riding  or  passing  along  the 
highway  to  come  in  and  be  sworn.  This  dangerous  privi- 
lege was  freely  availed  of  by  Moreton  and  Grace,  and  used 
as  an  instrument  for  extorting  fines.  Merchants  and 
visitors  on  their  way  to  and  from  town,  and  at  the  railway 
stations,  were  accosted  and  summoned  to  sit  as  jurors  at 
the  nearest  public-house,  in  company  with  the  riff-raff  of 
the  neighbourhood.  A  refusal  was  met  by  a  fine,  which, 
in  default  of  payment,  was  exacted  by  means  of  seizure 
and  sale  of  the  recalcitrant's  property.  As  the  real  object 
was  not  so  much  to  obtain  jurors  as  money,  a  second 
summons  to  serve  would  be  issued,  and  so  on  as  long  as 
money  in  lieu  of  service  was  forthcoming.  Dr.  Redhead 
relates  that  half  the  residents  in  Bebington  and  many  else- 
where, who  were  "worth  a  shot,"  had  dealings  more  or 
less  unpleasant  with  the  Court.  One  gentleman,  Mr. 


Dobbin,  was  fined  three  times  at  ^"50  each  for  non-attend- 
ance at  Court,  but  in  this  case  the  greater  part  of  the 
penalty  was  remitted  upon  submission.  Mr.  Fisher, 
another  well-known  resident,  was  summoned  to  attend, 
and,  upon  the  advice  of  his  solicitor,  did  so.  Again  he 
was  impressed,  and  again  he  sat,  so,  as  nothing  could  be 
made  out  of  him,  he  was  suffered  to  dwell  in  peace. 

The  jurisdiction  of  the  Court  over  highways  and  waste 
lands  was  actively  enforced,  and  numerous  fines  inflicted 
for  purprestures,  i.e.  encroachments.  In  one  case  a  Wirral 
landowner  employed  a  large  number  of  stonemasons  to 
erect  a  wall  in  a  situation  disapproved  of  by  Moreton,  who, 
on  the  completion  of  the  work,  at  once  took  the  masons 
into  his  service  and  paid  them  for  pulling  it  down  again  ! 
The  owner  protested,  and  is  said  to  have  carried  his  griev- 
ance into  the  law  courts  at  Chester,  but,  in  common  with 
many  others  who  attacked  the  undoubted  rights  of  the 
Lord  of  the  Hundred,  lost  his  case,  and  had  to  pay  the 

In  one  instance  the  powers  of  the  Wapentake  Court 
were  put  to  a  good  use.  The  Birkenhead  and  Chester 
Railway  bridge  over  Green  Lane,  Lower  Tranmere,  had 
for  some  years  been  in  a  state  of  disrepair.  It  leaked 
badly  and  the  water  remained  undried  under  the  arch- 
ways. Appeals  to  the  Railway  Company  and  orders  by 
magistrates  were  unavailing,  whereupon  Grace,  who  re- 
sided in  Tranmere,  took  the  matter  up.  A  jury  of  the 

1   Vide  "A  Free  Village  Library." 


Wapentake  Court  viewed  the  bridge,  and  the  repairs  were 
ordered  to  be  done  at  once,  under  penalty  of  a  fine  of 
,£100,  and  on  pain,  it  is  said,  of  seizure  of  the  line  and 
arrest  of  the  manager  and  directors  for  contempt  in  case 
of  non-compliance.  One  account  states  that,  as  the 
Company  were  still  contumacious,  the  bailiffs  of  the  Court 
seized  a  train  about  to  start  from  Monks  Ferry  station  ! 
This  would  be  possible  as  there  was  no  Act  exempting 
railway  rolling  stock  from  seizure  in  those  days.  Mr. 
Thomas  Field  (now  aged  seventy-five),  who  was  then 
stationmaster  at  Hooton,  informed  the  writer  that  he  did 
not  think  a  train  was  stopped,  as  no  doubt  he  would  have 
heard  of  it ;  but  he  thinks  some  waggons  may  have  been 
seized.  Notice  was  received  by  him  from  the  manager 
of  the  Railway  Company  to  attend  at  Birkenhead  Police 
Court,  to  be  sworn  in  as  a  special  constable,  a  breach  of 
the  peace  being  anticipated.  He  attended,  and  found  that 
all  the  other  stationmasters  on  the  line  were  also  being 
sworn  in.  Instructions  were  issued  to  them  by  the  Com- 
pany to  resist  any  seizure,  and  in  case  of  need  to  summon 
a  body  of  platelayers  and  porters  to  defend  the  Com- 
pany's property.  Mr.  Field  heard  nothing  more  about 
the  matter ;  and  the  Company  eventually  repaired  the 
bridge  and  removed  the  nuisance. 

The  Hooton  stationmaster's  first  experience  of  the 
Lord  of  the  Hundred  was  of  a  different  kind.  Moreton, 
who  was  unknown  to  him,  one  day  got  out  of  the  train, 
and  found  the  platform  door  locked.  His  arrogance 


brooked  no  opposition  or  delay,  and  he  proceeded  to 
force  the  door  open,  and  passed  through  to  the  omnibus 
which  then  ran  from  Hooton  to  Neston.  The  station- 
master  came  up  and  demanded  who  had  broken  open 
the  door,  and  upon  a  stranger,  who  was  seated  in  the 
bus,  saying  he  had,  seized  him  and  knocked  his  head 
against  the  side.  A  bystander  warned  Field  it  was  the 
dread  Lord  of  the  Wapentake,  and  that  he  would  get 
into  trouble,  but  nothing  came  of  the  affair  as  Moreton, 
though  furious  at  the  insult,  doubtless  saw  he  was  in 
the  wrong. 

A  reeve  or  bailiff,  and  official  Ale-Taster  was  ap- 
pointed by  Moreton  in  the  person  of  his  clerk,  Whittaker 
Edmondson.  The  duties  of  an  Ale-Taster  were  to  see 
that  good  and  wholesome  beer  and  ale  were  brewed,  to 
taste  them  before  sale,  and  to  see  that  the  price  was 
within  the  legal  limits  ;  and  to  enforce  the  proper  weight 
of  bread.  For  these  purposes  he  had  a  roving  commis- 
sion throughout  the  Hundred,  and  in  case  of  default  it 
was  his  duty  to  "present"  the  offender  to  the  Court  for 

Mr.  Thomas  Smith  who,  as  we  have  seen,  often  was 
present  as  affeeror,  states  that  Edmondson  was  not  at 
all  well  received  at  Court  by  the  steward  unless  he  was 
able  to  present  some  one  from  whom  a  fine  could  be 
exacted  for  breach  of  duty.  For  this  reason,  and  also 
no  doubt  because  of  a  natural  thirst,  the  Ale-Taster  was 
very  diligent  in  his  duties,  the  performance  of  which 


seems  to  have  necessitated  a  larger  consumption  of  ale 
than  he  was  capable  of  managing.  It  used  to  be  an 
obligation  on  those  who  were  entitled  to  enforce  the 
assize  of  bread  and  ale  in  this  way  to  keep  a  pillory  and 
tumbril  to  punish  faulty  bakers  and  brewers.  History 
does  not  relate  whether  Moreton  did  so,  but  we  may  be 
sure  that  if  he  had  thought  their  provision  would  have 
brought  him  any  advantage  he  would  have  kept  them. 
Edmondson  was  probably  one  of  the  last  Ale-Tasters 
ever  appointed,  the  Rossendale  Ale-Taster,  Taylor,  being 
perhaps  the  last  in  point  of  date.1 

A  description  of  the  Court  sitting  at  the  Tranmere 
Castle  Hotel  has  been  supplied  by  Mr.  George  Clark, 
senior,  and  Mr.  Thomas  Garner,  both  ancient  inhabitants 
of  Birkenhead,  who  have  very  distinct  recollections  of 
the  proceedings.2  The  hotel  was  kept  by  a  family  named 
Fernyhough,  who  were  in  close  alliance  with  Moreton 
and  Grace  ;  and  the  sittings  of  the  Court  there  contri- 
buted largely  to  their  takings.  The  Court  sat  in  a 
very  large  parlour  with  an  oblong  table  down  the  middle, 
and  an  elevated  chair  at  one  end  for  the  judge  or 
steward.  Here  Moreton  would  sit  with  a  clay  pipe  in 
his  mouth  and  a  glass  of  drink  beside  him,  and  next  to 
him  his  steward.  Down  the  table  sat  the  jury,  and 
the  rest  of  the  space  was  occupied  by  onlookers,  all  of 
whom  were  liberally  supplied  with  drink,  paid  for  out 

1  See  Notes  and  Queries  (3rd  Ser.),  vi.  390;  (yth  Ser.),  iv.  477. 

2  Birkenhead  News,  Sept.  i  and  8,  1906. 


of  the  fines  or  exacted  under  the  name  of  "costs."  Mr. 
Garner  was  present  when  his  grandmother,  Mrs.  Ellen 
Garner,  the  licensee  of  the  "Black  Horse,"  Higher  Tran- 
mere,  was  put  upon  her  trial  for  damaging  a  fence.  In 
spite  of  the  efforts  of  Grace,  she  defended  herself  with 
such  skill  that  a  fine  of  one  farthing  only  was  inflicted, 
but  she  was  condemned  to  pay  costs,  which  were  taken 
out  in  drinks  all  round  to  the  assembled  company. 

In  June  1855,  when  the  Bills  under  which  the  Mersey 
Docks  and  Harbour  Board  acquired  the  Birkenhead  docks 
were  before  Parliament,  we  find  Moreton  advancing  a  new 
claim.  A  local  paper1  stated  upon  reliable  authority 
that  a  sudden  and  unexpected  claimant  to  the  foreshore 
of  the  Cheshire  side  of  the  River  Mersey  and  Dee  and 
comprising  the  whole  of  the  Birkenhead  docks,  was  about 
to  appear  in  the  person  of  Samuel  Holland  Moreton, 
Esq.,  Lord  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral,  who  based  his 
claim  upon  the  Crown  grant  of  1820  (no  doubt  on  the  right 
to  "wreck")  and  intended  to  assert  his  claims  previous 
to  the  Dock  Bills  becoming  law.  The  Bills  eventually 
passed  without  any  clause  saving  the  rights  of,  or  giving 
compensation  to,  Moreton,  and  therefore  we  can  only  sup- 
pose that  he  was  unable,  as  was  likely  from  the  form 
of  the  grant,  to  substantiate  his  claim  to  the  foreshore, 
which  in  this  case  was  of  enormous  value. 

On  September  3,  1855,  one  of  the  Wapentake 
Courts  (which  were  then  held  quarterly)  took  place  at 

1  Liverpool  Chronicle,  June  23,  1855. 


the  Tranmere  Hotel  before  Grace,  the  steward.1  There 
were  seventeen  cases  entered  for  trial  by  jury,  and  as 
this  was  one  of  the  last  Hundred  Courts  ever  held,  it 
is  worth  noting  the  nature  of  some  of  them. 

An  action  for  damages  for  false  imprisonment  was 
brought  by  James  M'Mahon  of  Liscard,  schoolmaster, 
against  Elliott  Hodson,  a  Birkenhead  police  detective. 
Verdict  for  the  defendant.  An  action  by  John  Brown, 
cooper,  of  Birkenhead,  against  Joseph  Sill,  a  Bebington 
farmer,  was  for  £i,  195.  nd.  the  price  of  a  new  churn. 
(It  will  be  observed  that  the  claim  was  just  under  405. 
in  accordance  with  the  ancient  limit  of  the  Court's  juris- 
diction.) Another  case  was  a  claim  for  damages  for 
trespass  by  a  squatter,  who  had  enclosed  some  vacant 
land  at  Tranmere,  against  the  husband  of  a  woman  who 
had  trampled  on  the  seeds  sown  there.  Grace,  as  judge 
and  steward,  held  that  the  squatter,  whether  rightfully 
in  possession  or  not,  could  maintain  an  action,  but  the 
jury  returned  a  verdict  for  the  defendant.  Other  cases 
included  a  claim  for  the  price  of  a  dog,  and  an  action 
for  damages  against  one  of  the  staff  of  the  highway 
surveyor  for  injuries  received  by  falling  over  a  heap  of 
stones  in  Beech  Road,  Tranmere. 

1  Liverpool  Mercury,  Sept.  4,  1855. 


MO  R  ETON    (continued) 

Embezzlement  by  Messrs.  Brocklebank's  cashier — His  arrest — Injunction  whilst 
in  prison — Conviction  of  Wilson — Seizure  of  his  house  at  Clatterbridge — 
Moreton  obtains  all  Wilson's  property — The  Wirral  Manor  House — The 
Court  House — Sale  of  the  Manor  House — Moreton's  dinners — The  Liverpool 
Chronicle — A  bailiff  killed — Mr.  Christopher  Bushell's  horse — Abolition 
of  the  Wapentake  Court — County  Courts  Act,  1856 — Claims  for  compensa- 
tion— Wreck — Board  of  Trade  inquiry — Church  of  Holy  Cross. 

ONE  of  Moreton's  most  successful  exploits  is  worth  re- 
cording in  detail.1  In  1856  Messrs.  Thomas  &  Ralph 
Brocklebank  were  carrying  on  the  business  of  merchants 
and  shipowners  which  still  exists  in  Liverpool  as  T.  &  J. 
Brocklebank.  They  had  a  cashier  named  Robert  Wilson, 
a  confidential  clerk,  entrusted  by  them  with  large  sums 
**of  money,  who  maintained  a  large  private  establishment 
on  the  Cheshire  side  of  the  Mersey.  In  February  1856 
Wilson  absented  himself  from  Messrs.  Brocklebank's 
counting-house,  and  it  was  then  discovered  that  a  con- 
siderable quantity  of  money  and  securities  had  been 
taken  away  by  him.  A  reward  of  ^200  was  offered  for 
his  apprehension,  and  he  was  arrested  in  a  few  days  in 

1  Mrs.  Gamlin's  account  of  this  incident  is  very  incorrect.  The  details  above 
are  taken  from  the  Bills  of  Complaint  in  Brocklebank  v.  Wilson,  and  Moreton  v. 
Brocklebank  (1856),  and  the  local  papers. 



Low  Hill,  Liverpool.  Money  and  securities  to  the 
amount  of  ^2900  were  found  upon  him.  He  was 
charged  with  embezzlement,  and  committed  to  the  assizes 
for  trial.  Besides  the  moneys  he  had  carried  off,  Wilson 
for  several  years  had  misappropriated  sums  amounting  in 
all  to  some  ^"7000,  with  which,  it  was  said,  he  had 
purchased  lands  and  house  property.  These  included 
twenty-nine  acres  of  land  and  a  partially  built  house  at 
Thornton  Hough  in  Wirral  (subsequently  called  the 
Manor  House  or  "  Court  House,"  Clatterbridge),  held 
on  lease  from  the  Earl  of  Shrewsbury,  some  house 
property  in  Oxton,  and  in  Wood  Street,  Birkenhead. 

Whilst  in  prison,  Wilson  threatened  to  take  steps  to 
dispose  of  these  properties,  and  Messrs.  Brocklebank 
applied  to  the  Master  of  the  Rolls  and  obtained  an 
injunction  restraining  him  from  doing  so.  Wilson  was 
tried  at  the  Liverpool  spring  assizes  before  Baron 
Martin,  and  at  first  pleaded  not  guilty,  but  afterwards 
withdrew  this  plea.  Baron  Martin,  in  sentencing  him, 
said  that  it  was  the  very  worst  case  of  embezzlement 
he  had  ever  known,  and  he  must  inflict  the  severest 
possible  punishment,  namely,  transportation  for  fourteen 
years.  So  far  as  can  be  ascertained  what  followed  was 
this.  Moreton  and  Grace  were  quite  alive  to  the 
mediaeval  right  conferred  by  the  Crown  grant  of  1820 
on  the  Lord  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral  to  the  goods 
and  chattels  of  a  felon  ;  and  so  soon  as  Wilson  was 
convicted  they  hurried  over  the  river  to  Thornton  Hough 


and  took  possession1  of  Wilson's  house.  Wilson's  wife 
and  family  were  summarily  turned  out  (a  witness  is  alive 
who  saw  them  deposited  in  the  road),  and  the  house 
was  occupied  by  Moreton. 

At  Messrs.  Brocklebank's  instance  a  receiver  was 
appointed  of  all  Wilson's  property,  and  took  possession 
of  it,  with  the  exception  of  the  house  at  Clatterbridge, 
of  which  he  could  not  get  possession  owing  to  the 
occupation  of  it  by  Moreton.  He  did  not,  however, 
attempt  to  disturb  Moreton,  but  at  the  same  time  would 
not  recognise  his  rights,  and  therefore,  in  1859,  Moreton 
commenced  proceedings  in  Chancery  against  Messrs. 
Brocklebank,  claiming  that  all  Wilson's  property  vested 
in  him  as  the  property  of  a  felon,  but  that  he  could 
not  safely,  or  consistently  with  due  respect  for  the  Court, 
disturb  the  possession  of  the  receiver,  notwithstanding 
that  it  was  founded  on  no  rightful  title.  On  the  i2th 
July,  1860,  four  years  after  the  seizure,  the  Master  of 
the  Rolls  made  a  decree,  declaring  that,  upon  the  convic- 
tion of  Wilson  for  felony,  the  astonishing  result  followed 
that  all  his  property  vested  in  Moreton,  except  four 
houses  in  Wood  Street,  Birkenhead,  which,  apparently, 
Messrs.  Brocklebank  were  able  to  earmark  as  having 
been  bought  with  their  money.  Messrs.  Brocklebank 
had  to  pay  Moreton's  costs. 

1  Mrs.  Gamlin  (copying  from  the  Mayer  pamphlet)  inaccurately  states  that  Wilson 
fled  from  justice,  and  that  Grace  took  possession  of  the  house  as  being  the  property 
of  an  outlaw  or  fugitive  from  justice.  It  was  as  the  property  of  a  convicted  felon 
that  it  was  seized. 


Moreton  allowed  Mrs.  Wilson  to  re-occupy  the  house 
at  Clatterbridge  for  a  time,  but  subsequently  Mrs. 
Moreton,  and  occasionally  he  himself,  lived  there  until 
shortly  before  his  death.  He  proceeded  at  once  to  erect 
a  Court-house  on  the  property,  and  spent  considerable 
sums  in  completing  it  and  also  the  house,  which  he 
grandiloquently  named  "The  Wirral  Manor  House." 
The  Court-house  stands  on  the  south  side  of  the  building, 
and  can  be  seen  from  the  Clatterbridge  Road.  It  is  a 
plainly  built  and  lofty  structure  of  red  brick,  some  75 
feet  long.1  The  Court  apparently  sat  on  the  first  floor, 
as  there  are  no  windows  in  the  lower  part  of  the 
building,  which  is  now  used  as  a  stable  and  barn.  A 
precipitous  flight  of  stone  steps  leads  up  into  a  small 
lobby  on  the  first  floor,  from  which  doors  open  to  the 
right  and  left.  The  door  to  the  right  has  a  window  in 
the  upper  part  and  leads  into  a  room  where,  no  doubt, 
the  Court  sat.  This  room  is  some  35  feet  long,  and  20 
feet  wide.  It  has  three  large  windows  on  each  side, 
and  a  fireplace  at  the  end,  which  has  been  bricked  up. 
The  room  to  the  left  of  the  lobby  was  probably  intended 
as  a  waiting-room.  It  is  divided  from  the  Court  by  a 
partition  of  panelled  wood.  This  room,  in  addition  to 
four  windows  at  the  sides,  has  two  at  the  east  end, 
which  are  partly  filled  with  yellow  glass.  The  inside  walls 
of  the  Court  are  of  imitation  stone,  and  the  building 
must  have  cost  a  considerable  sum  to  erect.  There 

1  See  frontispiece. 


seems  to  be  no  date  or  inscription   on  any  part  of  the 

Moreton  died  in  possession  of  the  Manor  House,  and 
some  years  afterwards  (in  May  1874),  his  representatives 
sold  it  with  the  sanction  of  the  Court  of  Chancery.  The 
conditions  of  sale  referred  to  Wilson's  conviction  and 
the  seizure  by  Moreton  "as  representing  through  inter- 
mediate assurances  a  grantee  from  the  Crown  of  the 
goods  of  felons  within  the  district."  The  property  was 
purchased  by  one  Alexander  Kelly,  and  after  passing 
through  various  hands,  is  now  owned  by  Joseph  Hoult, 
Esq.,  late  M.P.  for  Wirral,  whose  residence  is  close  by. 

After  this  Court-house  was  built,  the  Wapentake  was 
once  or  twice  held  there  by  Grace,  who,  an  eye-witness1 
states,  was  often  more  or  less  intoxicated  when  presiding 
as  judge.  His  decisions  in  this  state  naturally  gave  great 
dissatisfaction,  and  large  crowds  of  incensed  farmers  and 
villagers  gathered  outside  the  Court  to  discuss  their 
grievances,  which  were  becoming  a  grave  public  scandal. 

A  feature  of  the  Court  were  the  dinners  given  by 
Moreton  when  his  affairs  were  flourishing.  After  the 
proceedings  of  the  day  were  over,  he  was  in  the  habit  of 
summoning  the  jury  and  any  other  persons  he  happened 
to  see,  to  dine  with  him.  It  is  said  that  he  went  so  far 
as  fining  for  contempt  of  court  those  who  declined  to 
attend.  An  excellent  dinner  with  plenty  of  wine  was 
provided,  but  no  drunkenness  was  allowed.  Those  who 

1  Capt.  Beckett,  whose  wife  was  a  niece  of  Mrs.  Moreton. 


exceeded  their  capabilities  were  summoned  the  follow- 
ing day,  and  if  not  fined,  were  bound  over  to  observe 
moderation  at  the  next  meeting,  a  promise  which  they 
were  unable  to  redeem,  being  never  invited  again. 

It  is  said1  that  David  Ross,  the  editor  of  the  Liverpool 
Chronicle,  was  threatened  with  committal  by  Grace  for 
writing  a  leader  on  the  vagaries  of  the  Hundred  Court, 
and  there  are  at  any  rate  several  references  to  it  by  that 
paper  in  by  no  means  complimentary  terms.  In  April 
1856,  Greenaway  Saunders,  who  was  one  of  the  bailiffs 
of  the  Wapentake  Court,  went  to  serve  a  summons  for 
the  sum  of  eightpence  on  Thomas  Cross,  a  bootmaker  in 
Birkenhead.  Cross  for  some  reason  objected,  and  struck 
the  bailiff  over  the  head  with  a  boot-tree,  inflicting  injuries 
from  which  he  subsequently  died.  In  commenting  upon 
the  case,  the  Chronicle*  referred  to  the  deceased  as  "an 
officer  of  one  of  those  sinks  of  abomination — a  Wapentake 
Court — nuisances  which  were  rife  a  quarter  of  a  century 
ago."  A  sentence  of  nine  months'  imprisonment  on 
Cross  was  considered  very  severe  by  the  townspeople  of 
Birkenhead,  who  had  suffered  a  good  deal  from  the 
attentions  of  this  bailiff.  (Cross  was,  it  may  be  re- 
marked, a  curious  character.  He  obtained  much  notoriety 
for  selling  his  wife  for  55.  to  go  to  America,  and  drew  up 
a  formal  agreement  for  her  sale.  He  fell  down  dead 
whilst  engaged  in  a  walking  match  to  Chester.)3 

1  By  Mrs.  Gamlin  in  " 'Twixt  Mersey  and  Dee."  2  April  5,  1856. 

3  Birkenhead  News,  Sept.  8,  1906. 


A  further  sarcastic  reference  to  the  Court  appears  in 
May  1856,  when  the  paper  reports  a  rumour  that  the 
Birkenhead  bellman  had  got  up  a  memorial  applying-  for 
the  situation  of  hangman  to  the  Wirral  Wapentake  Court, 
a  reference,  doubtless,  to  the  pretensions  of  the  lord 
to  authorities  and  jurisdictions  which  he  did  not  possess. 

There  is  no  doubt  that,  in  spite  of  the  efforts  of  some 
of  the  papers,  many  scandalous  proceedings  of  the  Court 
were  never  reported.  The  Court  was  a  movable  one,  and 
could  sit  wherever  the  lord  or  his  steward  desired,  so  that 
in  case  of  necessity  a  jury  would  be  hastily  impanelled 
by  commandeering  passers-by,  and  a  travesty  of  justice 
administered  on  the  spot.  The  newspaper  reporter  not 
being  so  ubiquitous  as  at  the  present  day,  the  proceedings 
would  only  become  known  by  hearsay,  and  the  fear  of 
contempt  of  court  might  very  well  prevent  reference  to 

Up  to  this  time  those  who  had  attacked  the  Lord  of  the 
Hundred  had  got  the  worst  of  it,  but  an  incident  occurred 
about  this  period  which  eventually  led  to  his  downfall, 
although  at  first  he  seemed  to  have  had  the  better 
of  his  antagonist.  The  late  Mr.  Christopher  Bushell, 
J.P.,  a  Liverpool  merchant,  about  the  year  1855  bought 
the  Hinderton  estate  in  Wirral,  and  erected  the  house 
known  as  "  Hinderton  Hall,"  now  the  property  of  Sir 
Percy  E.  Bates,  Bart.  Upon  this  estate  there  was  a  stone 
quarry  by  a  footpath  which  runs  from  Raby  to  Willaston 
near  the  Water  Tower.  Exactly  how  Mr.  Bushell  incurred 


the  displeasure  of  the  Wapentake  Court  is  not  clear,  but 
he  seems  to  have  closed  up  the  entrance  to  his  quarry  or 
some  road  or  footpath  near  it.  Moreton  objected  to  this 
either  as  an  interference  with  a  right-of-way  or  a  right  of 
taking  stone  from  the  quarry,  and  called  upon  Mr.  Bushell 
to  open  up  the  gate.  He  declined  to  recognise  the 
authority  of  the  Court  and  was  consequently  summoned 
to  appear  before  it.  As  he  did  not  do  so,  he  was  fined. 
An  application  for  payment  met  with  no  response,  and 
Moreton  therefore  resolved  upon  a  fatal  step.  He  sent 
his  bailiffs  at  night  and  seized  out  of  a  field  a  valuable 
cart  horse  belonging  to  Mr.  Bushell.  A  notice  was  left 
behind  on  a  post  saying  what  had  been  done  and  the  horse 
was  sold  at  Chester  Fair  and,  it  is  said,  bought  back  by 
the  owner.  As  it  was  feared  further  seizures  would  be 
made  Mr.  Bushell  armed  his  men  with  pitchforks  and 
bludgeons  and  set  them  to  watch  his  stock  at  night,  but 
probably  Moreton  began  to  realise  the  calibre  of  his 
antagonist  as  no  more  distresses  were  taken.  According 
to  some  accounts  of  the  episode,  costly  and  prolonged 
litigation  arose  between  Mr.  Bushell  and  the  Lord  of  the 
Hundred,  but  no  record  of  it  has  been  found.  It  is  clear, 
however,  that  Mr.  Bushell  set  himself  to  bring  about  the 
downfall  of  the  Court,  as  the  high-handed  nature  of  its 
proceedings  and  abuse  of  power  rendered  its  continuance 
quite  unbearable. 

The  end  of  the  Wapentake  drew  near,  and  the  agita- 
tions of  the  aggrieved  inhabitants  of  Wirral  were  at  last 


successful.     Its  demise  was  announced  in  the  following 
newspaper  article  : — l 

4 'Our  readers  will  remember  the  sensation  which  was 
caused  in  Liverpool  and  Birkenhead  a  few  months  ago  by 
the  reopening  of  one  of  those  abominations,  a  Wapentake 
Court,  in  the  Hundred  of  Wirral,  and  the  extraordinary 
freaks  under  the  name  of  justice  which  were  perpetrated 
on  the  other  side  of  the  water.  Of  course,  it  was  not  to 
be  endured  in  the  middle  of  the  nineteenth  century  that 
these  ludicrous  follies  should  continue  ;  and  accordingly 
a  clause  was  introduced  into  an  Act  during  the  present 
session  of  Parliament  which  knocks  this  Wirral  Wapentake 
Court  as  completely  on  the  head  as  if  it  never  had  an 
existence,  to  the  great  delight  of  the  Cheshire  people,  who 
stood  in  daily  terror  of  the  tremendous  and  irresponsible 
authority  with  which  it  was  vested.  The  powers  of  this 
Court,  like  many  similar  Courts  in  various  parts  of  the 
Kingdom,  were  supposed  to  fall  into  desuetude,  because 
opposed  to  the  spirit  of  the  age,  until  they  were  revived 
in  Cheshire  by  a  purchase  from  the  Lord  of  the  Manor  to 
the  astonishment  of  every  one.  But  although  the  Court 
and  its  officers,  in  its  new  form,  can  hardly  be  said  to  be 
more  than  a  year  or  so  old,  the  Bill  provides  that  these 
worthies  shall  all  have  compensation  given  to  them  for  the 
losses  they  will  sustain  by  the  extinction  of  the  Court. 
By  what  legal  machinery  these  losses  are  to  be  measured 
we  have  no  means  of  knowing ;  but  the  cost  will  be  paid 

1  Liverpool  Chronicle,  July  26,  1856. 


out  of  the  general  funds  of  the  country,  and  not,  as  many 
people  have  supposed,  by  a  tax  levied  on  the  people  of  the 
Hundred  of  Wirral.  Perhaps  it  is  fortunate,  under  the  cir- 
cumstances, that  a  Wapentake  Court  can  be  so  quietly  and 
readily  abolished  ;  but  we  hope  that  the  Lords  of  Manors 
elsewhere  who  have  latent  Wapentake  Courts  on  their 
estates  will  be  a  little  more  cautious  how  they  dispose  of 
such  enormous  powers  for  a  comparatively  trifling"  consider- 
ation. They  ought  to  have  some  mercy  on  the  public." 

The  Act  of  Parliament  referred  to l  came  into  operation 
on  the  29th  July  1856.  As  originally  introduced,  the  Bill 
was  simply  one  to  amend  the  County  Courts,  which  had 
then  been  established  some  ten  years.  In  committee,  how- 
ever, the  influence  of  the  representatives  of  the  suffering 
inhabitants  of  Wirral,  probably  headed  by  Mr.  Christopher 
Bushell,  was  sufficiently  strong  to  get  a  clause  inserted 
which  gave  a  deathblow  to  the  Wirral  Wapentake.  Their 
case  must  indeed  have  been  a  strong  one,  and  it  is  worth 
noting  as  further  evidence,  if  need  be,  of  the  scandalous 
misuse  of  this  particular  Court,  that  it  was  not  until  eleven 
years  later  that  the  jurisdiction  of  the  other  surviving 
Hundred  Courts  was  curtailed.2 

Section  77  of  the  Act  of  1856  provided  that  "from  and 

1  County  Courts  Acts  Amendment  Act,  1856. 

1  By  the  County  Courts  Act  of  1867.  The  Hundred  Courts  of  Offlow  (Staffs.)  and 
Hemlingford  (Warwicks.)  had  been  abolished  in  1852  by  similar  provisions  in  the 
County  Court  Act  of  that  year.  An  account  of  the  latter  Court  is  given  in  "  The 
Hundreds  of  Warwickshire,"  by  B.  Walker,  A.  R.I.  B.  A.,  vol.  xxxi.,  Trans,  of  Birming- 
ham Archaeological  Society. 


after  the  passing  of  this  Act  no  action  or  suit  shall  be 
commenced  in  the  Hundred  or  Wapentake  Court  of  Wirral, 
in  the  county  of  Chester,  and  the  authority  and  jurisdiction 
of  the  said  Court  shall  cease."  All  pending  actions  and 
suits  were  transferred  to  the  County  Court.  Every  person 
who  was  legally  entitled  to  any  franchise  or  office  in  the 
Court  was  to  be  entitled  to  make  a  claim  for  compensa- 
tion on  the  Treasury  within  six  months  after  the  passing 
of  the  Act,  and  the  Commissioners  were  to  inquire  what 
was  the  nature  of  the  office,  and  what  were  its  fees  and 
emoluments,  and  to  award  such  gross  or  yearly  sum  as 
they  thought  fit  for  loss  of  office. 

In  due  course  claims  for  compensation  were  lodged 
with  the  Treasury  by  Moreton  as  lord,  by  Grace  as 
steward,  and  by  Whittaker  Edmondson  as  reeve  and 
bailiff.  Accounts  were  submitted  by  the  steward  for 
the  seven  quarters  from  October  1854  to  the  end  of 
July  1856,  which  showed  the  gross  receipts  of  the  Court 
for  that  period  to  have  been  ^360,  6s.  6d.,  i.e.  about 
^200  a  year,  which  is  a  surprisingly  small  figure  con- 
sidering the  largeness  of  some  of  the  fines  said  to  have 
been  inflicted.  The  majority,  however,  of  them  did  not 
exceed  a  few  shillings,  and,  as  already  shown,  some  of 
them  did  not  always  come  into  the  hands  of  the  Court 
in  the  shape  of  cash.  But  doubtless  the  figures  supplied 
to  the  Treasury  were  as  high  as  could  be  given.  They 
dispose  of  the  current  idea  that  Moreton  and  Grace  made 
a  considerable  fortune  out  of  the  Court. 


Edmondson,  the  reeve,  stated  that  his  fees  for  the 
same  period  amounted  to  ^44,  2S. 

The  following  sums  were  awarded  as  compensation  : — l 

To  Moreton    .  .  .  .  .     £250 

To  Grace        .....        300 
To  Edmondson  ....         60 

The  Hundred  Court  was  now  gone,  but  there  still 
remained  vested  in  Moreton,  for  what  they  were  worth, 
the  quasi-manorial  and  other  rights  conferred  by  the 
Crown  grant  of  1820.  These  were  quite  unaffected  by 
the  Act  of  1856,  which  did  not  purport  to  revoke  the 
grant.  Moreton  still  continued  to  describe  himself  as 
"Lord  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral."  Grace  also  appears 
in  1857  i°  the  Law  List  and  directories  as  "  Steward 
of  Wirral,"  and  from  1858  to  1860  as  "High  Steward 
of  Wirral  Hundred."  Whether  there  was  any  substantial 
value  in  what  was  left  to  them  is  more  than  doubtful, 
but  efforts  were  occasionally  made  to  keep  the  rights 
alive.  On  one  occasion  a  diamond  ring  was  found  on 
the  beach  on  the  Dee  side  of  Wirral.  Moreton  promptly 
claimed  it,  presumably  as  wreck  as  it  would  not  consti- 
tute "treasure  trove,"  and  succeeded  in  establishing  his 
claim,  or  at  any  rate  defeating  that  of  any  one  else.2 

Very  early  in  his  career  Moreton  had  advanced  his 
claim  to  "wreck,"  and  sent  notice  of  it  to  the  Lord  of 
the  Manor  of  Eastham  and  Hooton,  and  probably  to 

1  Information  of  the  Treasury.  2  Information  of  Captain  Beckett. 


others,  threatening  to  take  action  if  they  laid  hands  on 
any  wreck  thrown  up  within  the  limits  of  their  manors. 
It  seems  very  likely  that  his  claim  was  disputed  by 
them,  and  it  will  be  remembered  that  " wreck"  had 
never  formed  part  of  the  rights  of  the  Crown  lessees  of 
the  Hundred,  but  had  somehow  slipped  into  the  deed  of 
1820  to  John  Williams  on  the  occasion  of  his  purchase. 
The  right  to  it  might  have  been  tested  in  the  case  of  a 
schooner  which  had  been  in  collision  in  the  Mersey, 
and,  after  being  abandoned,  had  grounded  on  Tranmere 
beach.  Moreton  claimed  the  ship,  but  when  he  found 
there  was  no  cargo,  the  vessel  being  in  ballast  and 
badly  damaged,  he  did  not  pursue  the  matter  further. 

In  1857  an  inquiry  was  held  at  Liverpool  by  James 
O'Dowd,  solicitor  to  her  Majesty's  Customs,  into  the 
claims  of  Lords  of  the  Manor  and  others  to  "unclaimed 
wreck"  under  the  Merchant  Shipping  Act  of  1854.  This 
Act  contained  new  provisions  regulating  the  seizure  and 
sale  of  unclaimed  wreck  on  the  coasts,  and  provided 
for  notice  being  given  to  the  Receiver  of  Wreck  by  any 
Lord  of  the  Manor  or  other  person  who  set  up  a  claim 
to  it.  The  inquiry  was  held  for  the  purpose  of  adjudi- 
cating upon  the  claims  which  had  been  received  in 
respect  of  the  coasts  of  the  Mersey  and  Dee.  It  lasted 
for  several  weeks  and  much  interesting  information  was 
given  as  to  the  manorial  titles  in  the  district.1  Among  the 
claims  put  forward  was  that  of  Mr.  J.  Baskervyle  Glegg 

1  Liverpool  Daily  Post,  May  25,  1857,  and  Liverpool  Courier,  May  27,  1857. 


of  Gayton  in  respect  of  the  Hundred  of  Caldy,1  and 
documentary  evidence  was  put  forward,  showing  un- 
interrupted enjoyment  there  of  the  right  to  wreck  from 
early  times  down  to  the  date  of  the  inquiry.  Moreton, 
however,  put  in  a  claim  (based  upon  the  Crown  grant 
of  1820)  to  all  unclaimed  wreck  found  on  the  shores  of 
the  Hundred  of  Wirral  and  throughout  the  extent  of 
the  maritime  limits  of  that  Hundred.  He  was  repre- 
sented at  the  inquiry  by  Grace,  who  produced  the  Crown 
grant  of  1820,  and  the  deeds  subsequent  thereto  by 
which  the  Hundred  devolved  upon  Moreton. 

When  dealing  with  Moreton's  claim,  Mr.  O'Dowd 
expressed  considerable  surprise  at  what  he  termed  his 
very  startling  and  extensive  pretensions,  more  especially 
seeing  that  the  amount  of  the  purchase  money  paid 
by  John  Williams  (whose  interest  Moreton  represented) 
amounted  only  to  the  small  sum  of  ,£230,  and  that 
Moreton  had  himself  purchased  the  whole  of  the  rights 
for  the  still  smaller  sum  of  .£99,  195.  Mr.  O'Dowd 
pointed  out  that  the  Hundred  of  Wirral  by  the  latest 
surveys  comprised  upwards  of  60,000  acres  of  land,  in 
ancient  times  comparatively  valueless,  but  then  of  a 
value  impossible  to  be  appreciated,  over  all  of  which 
Moreton  claimed  lordship.  The  commissioner  said  that 
Moreton  based  his  claim  on  the  very  comprehensive  lan- 
guage of  the  grant,  but  although  this  gave  Williams 

1  This   Hundred  within  a  Hundred  had  its  own  Court,   and  must  not  be  con- 
fused with  the  Manor  of  Caldy,  which  was  quite  distinct. 


all  that  was  meant  by  "the  Hundred  of  Wirral,"  there 
were  qualifying  and  restrictive  words  in  the  deed  which 
indicated  (to  Mr.  O'Dowd)  that  but  a  small  portion  of 
the  Hundred  was  intended  to  pass  to  the  purchaser. 
The  words  referred  to  were  :  "Which  said  Hundred  and 
premises  are  portions  of  the  possessions  of  the  Land 
Revenues  of  the  Crown  .  .  .  and  were  last  demised  .  .  . 
by  letters  patent  .  .  .  bearing  date  the  8th  day  of  April 
1786  to  John  Glegg  of  Neston  .  .  .  for  a  reversionary 
term  of  27  years."  Mr.  O'Dowd  complained  that  the 
lease  to  Glegg  had  not  been  produced,  nor  had  Moreton 
been  able  to  satisfy  him  what  were  the  particulars  and 
conditions  of  the  sales  of  Crown  lands  at  the  time 
of  Williams'  purchase.  Under  the  circumstances  Mr. 
O'Dowd  intimated  that  before  reporting  to  the  Board 
of  Trade  he  would  have  to  obtain  information  from  the 
Office  of  Woods  and  Forests  as  to  the  terms  of  the 
lease  and  also  the  precise  lot  of  which  Williams  became 
the  purchaser.  On  another  part  of  the  case  Mr.  O'Dowd 
felt  considerable  difficulty.  On  reference  to  the  Act  of 
George  III.  it  appeared  that  the  power  to  sell  Crown 
lands,  hereditaments,  and  revenues,  although  embracing 
several  royalties,  did  not  specify  "wreck."  Mr.  O'Dowd 
could  not  agree  that  a  power  to  sell  "hereditaments" 
was  sufficiently  comprehensive  to  include  "wreck,"  be- 
cause, in  his  view,  the  Crown  was  entitled  to  wreck 
by  force  of  its  prerogative  and  not  in  the  way  of 
inheritance.  Whilst  feeling  doubts  and  difficulties  as  to 


the  excessive  exercise  by  the  Commissioners  of  Woods 
and  Forests  of  the  powers  of  the  Act,  Mr.  O'Dowd 
intimated  that  he  could  not  think  of  reporting  against 
a  claim  which  rested  upon  a  sale  made  by  the  Com- 
missioners without  further  inquiries.  He  decided  there- 
fore to  make  a  special  report  to  the  Board  of  Trade 
and  obtain  their  decision  whether,  having  regard  to 
the  wording  of  the  statute,  the  terms  of  the  Crown 
grant,  and  an  alleged  acquiescence  of  the  Crown  in  the 
exercise  of  Moreton's  rights,  his  claim  to  wreck  might 
not  be  admitted  in  respect,  not  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral, 
but  of  the  particular  part  of  it  of  which  he  was  the  bond 
fide  and  absolute  owner  under  the  deed  of  1820. 

This  decision,  if  it  may  be  so  called,  does  not  seem  to 
be  very  satisfactory  or  very  clear,  and  shows  the  commis- 
sioner did  not  appreciate  what  the  franchise  of  a  Hundred 
was.  He  seems  to  have  thought  that  a  grant  of  the 
Hundred  of  Wirral  could  not  possibly  include  rights  over 
the  whole  land  of  Wirral ;  but  there  is  no  doubt  that  it 
did,  though,  as  we  have  seen,  it  did  not  carry  the  owner- 
ship of  the  soil.  As  we  know,  the  Crown  lessees  did  not 
possess  the  right  to  wreck,  but  if  they  had,  it  seems  clear 
that  they,  and  all  subsequent  owners  of  the  Hundred, 
would  have  been  entitled  to  wreck  throughout  the  whole 
coasts  of  Wirral. 

Mr.  O'Dowd's  report  to  the  Board  of  Trade  was  con- 
fidential, but  he  would  no  doubt  ascertain  from  the  Com- 
missioners of  Woods  and  Forests  that  the  Crown  lessees 


never  had  the  right  to  wreck.  The  result  of  his  own 
inquiry  proved  that  the  right  to  unclaimed  wrecks  on  the 
coasts  of  Wirral  was  held  by  various  persons,  who  all 
showed  a  lengthy  manorial  title.  This  of  itself  would  be 
almost  sufficient  to  prove  that  at  the  time  of  the  Crown 
grant  of  1820  the  right  to  wreck  was  not  in  the  Crown, 
and  that  in  selling  it  they  were  disposing  of  something 
they  had  not  got.  Presumably  Mr.  O'Dowd  reported 
against  Moreton's  claim  ;  at  any  rate  the  Board  of  Trade 
refused  to  admit  it,  and  his  name  does  not  appear  in  the 
records  of  the  Receiver  of  Wreck  at  Liverpool  or  Chester 
amongst  the  list  of  Lords  of  Manors  entitled  to  unclaimed 

After  this  date  to  his  death,  the  only  feature  in  More- 
ton's  career  worth  noting  is  that  he  was  persuaded  to 
interest  himself  in  church  matters,  and  eventually  contri- 
buted some  ^2000  towards  the  erection,  about  1860,  of 
the  Church  of  the  Holy  Cross  in  Great  Crosshall  Street, 
Liverpool,  the  architect  being  the  younger  Pugin. 

1  The  names  and  districts  of  those  whose  claims  were  subsequently  admitted 
are  : — Richard  Erring-ton  :  Ness,  and  Puddington  (from  Burton  to  Little  Neston  and 
from  Shotwick  to  Burton)  ;  W.  W.  Congreve  :  Burton  (between  Ness  and  Pudding- 
ton)  ;  James  Houghton  :  Great  Neston  (Little  Neston  to  Leighton) ;  John  Baskervyle 
Glegg  (in  respect  of  the  Hundred  of  Caldy) :  from  Leighton-on-Dee  to  Seacombe 
(except  the  Manors  of  Caldy,  Wallasey,  and  Liscard)  ;  Richard  Barton  :  the  Manor 
of  Caldy  (from  the  south  boundary  of  West  Kirby  to  the  north  boundary  of  Thurs- 
taston)  ;  the  devisees  of  Richard  Smith  :  Poulton-cum-Seacombe  (from  Birkenhead 
Dock  on  the  south  to  Egremont  Ferry  on  the  north) ;  Major  Orred  :  the  Manor  of 
Tranmere  (from  Birkenhead  to  Rock  Ferry)  ;  C.  K.  Mainwaring  :  the  Manor  of  Brom- 
borough  ;  R.  C.  Naylor  :  the  Manor  of  Hooton  and  Eastham  (from  Bromborough 
Pool  to  Poole) ;  Marquis  of  Westminster :  the  Manor  of  Whitby  and  Overpool. 
"  Custom  House  Records"  at  Liverpool,  Chester,  and  Connah's  Quay.  1860  &  1861. 



Death  of  Moreton — Newspaper  articles — The  making  of  his  will — Bequest  to 
Roman  Catholic  Bishop  of  Liverpool  of  all  his  property — Validity  questioned 
by  widow — Dr.  Goss  and  the  Hundred  of  Wirral — Widow  lodges  a  caveat 
— Notice  to  tenants — Pressure  on  widow  to  compromise — Moreton's  ghost — 
Withdrawal  of  widow's  opposition — Supposed  heir-at-law  intervenes — Trial — 
Will  set  aside — Death  of  Dr.  Goss — Litigation  among  rival  claimants — James 
Moreton,  heir-at-law — Sale  of  Hundred  of  Wirral  to  Leather— Moreton  gets  it 
back — His  death. 

MORETON  died  on  March  24,  1869,  at  his  house  in  William 
Brown  Street,  Liverpool,  aged  seventy-five,  and  was  buried 
in  the  Catholic  Chapel  at  Neston.  The  circumstances  of 
his  death  and  the  making  of  his  will  were  very  extraordi- 
nary, and  no  account  of  the  Lordship  of  Wirral  would  be 
complete  without  full  reference  to  them,  as  the  destination 
of  the  rights  of  the  lord  was  now  for  several  years  in  dis- 
pute. A  local  paper  was  at  this  time  devoting  much 
attention  to  the  growing  influence  of  Roman  Catholicism, 
and  a  series  of  able  and  at  times  amusing  articles  at 
once  appeared  dealing  with  the  Moreton  will  case.  The 
first1  bore  the  sensational  title  "  Priestly  Will-making 
in  Liverpool;  Bishop  Goss  Heir  to  ,£30,000,"  and 
proceeded  as  follows  : — 

"The  power  which  the  Church  of  Rome  exercises,  by 

1  Liverpool  Courier,  April  9,  1869. 


frequently  wringing  from  her  members,  while  on  their 
deathbeds,  immense  bestowals  of  conscience  money,  is 
still  notorious.  We  have  had  the  practice  exemplified  of 
late  years  in  numerous  cases  from  the  sister  island,  where, 
if  Protestant  ascendency  has  hitherto  been  official,  Romish 
ascendency  has  been  more  actual.  But  we  may  be  per- 
mitted to  doubt  whether  any  of  those  multiplied  instances 
exceed  in  flagrancy  a  case  of  the  kind  which  has  just  tran- 
spired in  Liverpool.  The  most  extraordinary  rumours 
have  been  prevalent  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Islington- 
flags  as  to  the  circumstances  under  which  the  late  Mr. 
Samuel  Holland  Moreton,  solicitor,  of  this  town,  died  and 
made  a  will — or,  rather,  as  rumour  puts  it,  had  a  will  made 
for  him, — in  which  the  whole  of  his  extensive  property 
goes  to  the  Church  of  Rome,  in  the  person  of  her  chief 
representative  here,  the  Right  Rev.  Dr.  Goss,  the  titular 
Bishop  of  Liverpool.  The  late  Mr.  Moreton  ...  in  the 
course  of  his  professional  practice,  acquired,  in  some 
occult  manner,  the  Lordship  of  the  manor  in  the  Hundred 
of  Wirral,  and  the  rights  of  court-leet  and  wapentake  con- 
nected with  it.  It  has  been  stated  that  the  person  from 
whom  he  obtained  the  Lordship  had  succeeded  to  it  by 
descent,  but,  having  fallen  into  bad  circumstances,  and 
being  unaware,  through  desuetude,  of  the  privileges  and 
emoluments  still  appertaining  to  the  Lordship,  he  was 
induced  to  convey  it  to  Mr.  Moreton,  though  the  'con- 
sideration '  has  never  transpired,  and  it  has  been  said  that 
the  smallest  coin  in  the  realm  will  probably  represent 


it.1  The  original  Lord,  at  any  rate,  benefited  very  little 
by  the  transaction,  for  he  is,  or  was  comparatively  lately, 
working  as  a  lumper  at  the  Liverpool  Docks.2  When  Mr. 
Moreton  had  got  the  Lordship  fully  transferred  to  him,  he 
resuscitated  it  with  a  vigour  which  astonished  the  public, 
who  were  under  the  impression  that  it  had  been  done  away 
with,  or  was  at  the  most  an  utterly  effete  institution.  The 
ancient  glories  of  the  wapentake  were  sought  to  be  revived 
in  a  curious  fashion.  Reeves  or  bailiffs  were  appointed, 
*  ale-tasters '  were  sworn  in,  and  juries  empanelled  to 
attend  the  court-leet  and  view  of  frank  pledge.  The 
sittings  were  usually  held  at  the  Tranmere  Castle  Hotel, 
where  small  debts  of  the  most  trumpery  character  were 
tried  in  a  fashion  that  rendered  the  tribunal  a  complete 
farce,  though  it  was  no  joke  for  any  unfortunate  suitor 
who  happened  to  be  cast  in  damages,  for  the  court,  it 
turned  out,  had  real  functions,  and  amerced  sundry 
persons  in  very  grievous  pains  and  penalties.  The  Lord 
of  the  Wapentake  took  cognisance  of  other  and  more 
serious  matters  than  small  debts.  He  dealt  with  sundry 
owners  of  property  in  a  very  high-handed  fashion,  and 
there  was  a  famous  collision  with  Mr.  Christopher  Bushell, 
of  Neston,  .  .  .  which  eventually  resulted  in  the  abolition, 
by  Act  of  Parliament,  of  the  Wirral  Wapentake,  though 
many  of  the  rights  of  Lordship  remained  untouched.  .  .  . 
The  most  audacious  thing  ever  done  in  connection  with 

1  It  was  stated  in  the  deed  to  have  been  .£99,  193.,  as  we  have  seen,  page  107,  ante. 
*  No  doubt  this  refers  to  Spencer. 


the  Lordship,  however,  was  the  seizure  of  the  property, 
which,  of  late  years,  constituted  the  manor-house,  at  the 
village  of  Thornton  Hough,  half-way  between  Lower 
Bebington  and  Neston.  .  .  .  Everything  thus  obtained 
was  kept,  and  is  part  of  the  '  prize '  which  has  fallen  to 
the  Church  of  Rome,  or  perhaps  it  would  be  more  correct 
to  say,  has  been  snatched  from  a  deathbed  by  some  of  her 
zealous  ecclesiastics.  Mr.  Moreton  being  of  very  saving 
habits  acquired  a  great  deal  of  other  property  in  various 
modes,  and  at  the  time  of  his  decease  owned  property  in 
Brunswick  Road,  Liverpool — as  to  the  sanitary  condition 
of  which  he  was  in  frequent  litigation  with  the  Health 
Committee — worth  ^600  or  ^700  a  year  ;  property  in 
Warwick  Street,  Liverpool ;  and  a  warehouse,  cottages, 
brewhouse,  public-house,  and  other  tenements  in  Mill  Lane 
and  at  the  back  of  Islington-flags.  Attached  to  his  pro- 
perty he  built  premises  which  faced  William  Brown  Street, 
immediately  above  the  waste  ground  on  the  east  side  of 
the  Free  Library,  and  sought  in  vain  to  obtain  a  spirit 
licence  from  the  borough  magistrates.  Failing  in  this, 
he  opened  it  under  a  beer  and  wine  licence,  and  generally 
lived  there  during  the  week,  going  home  to  the  manor- 
house  at  Thornton  Hough  on  Saturday  afternoon,  to 
remain  until  Monday,  The  Islington  property  being  re- 
quired by  the  Corporation  for  street  improvements,  Mr. 
Moreton  made  what  was  considered  a  very  enormous  de- 
mand for  compensation  for  giving  it  up.  The  matter  went 
to  arbitration  some  months  ago,  and  an  award  was  made 


fixing  the  value  at  ^3300,  which  so  utterly  failed  to 
meet  Mr.  Moreton's  great  expectations,  that  he  used  to 
threaten,  in  his  foolish,  eccentric  sort  of  way, — which 
really  meant  nothing  except  great  anger — that  he  would 
shoot  the  Town  Clerk,  Mr.  Joseph  Rayner,  for  the  share 
he  believed  him  to  have  had  in  defeating  his  exorbitant 

"We  now  come  to  the  period  immediately  preceding 
Mr.  Moreton's  death,  when  circumstances  are  said  to 
have  occurred,  which,  if  they  are  at  all  borne  out  by  the 
facts,  are  simply  scandalous.  At  the  same  time  we  must 
warn  our  readers  that,  from  the  very  peculiar  nature  of 
the  whole  transaction,  it  is  exceeding  hard  to  get  at  the 
exact  circumstances,  and  it  is  therefore  very  possible  that 
when  the  matter  comes  to  be  sifted  in  a  court  of  law — if 
it  should  ever  reach  that  stage,  as  to  which  considerable 
doubt  may  be  entertained — many  of  the  present  allegations 
will  have  to  be  considerably  modified.  These  allegations, 
put  into  definite  shape  from  the  various  rumours  afloat, 
make  up  a  story  which  is  to  the  following  effect. 

"For  about  two  months  prior  to  his  decease,  Mr. 
Moreton  had  been  suffering  from  bronchitis,  and  was 
usually  attended  by  Dr.  Stopford  Taylor  of  Springfield. 
On  the  evening  of  Monday  the  22nd  of  March,  he  was 
apparently  rather  better,  and  in  accordance  with  a  favourite 
habit,  he  had  one  or  two  friends  and  neighbours  with  him 
at  the  house  in  Islington,  enjoying  some  games  at  whist. 
The  old  gentleman  displayed  considerable  mental  and 


bodily  weakness  as  the  evening  progressed,  and  after  his 
friends  left  he  became,  during  the  night,  much  worse. 
There  were  besides  himself  two  women  servants  in  the 
house,  Mrs.  Moreton  being  at  that  time  also  unwell  at 
the  manor-house  at  Thornton  Hough.  Next  morning, 
Tuesday,  the  23rd,  his  medical  attendant  was  sent  for, 
and  he  arrived  at  the  house  at  about  half-past  ten  o'clock. 
Mr.  Moreton  then  appeared  to  be  insensible.  The  medical 
man  was  seen  to  shake  him  and  call  him,  but  he  remained 
perfectly  undemonstrative  under  this  active  treatment. 
It  would  appear  that  his  disease  had  made  such  progress 
that,  owing  to  its  peculiar  action  on  the  blood  and  the 
brain,  he  must  have  been  partially  asphyxiated  and  quite 
incapable  of  exercising  the  ordinary  functions  of  the  brain. 
After  the  medical  man  left,  the  Very  Rev.  Canon  Fisher, 
a  well-known  Roman  Catholic  dignitary,  with  whom 
Mr.  Moreton  had  been  in  frequent  communication,  was 
sent  for.  Upon  his  arrival  he  found  the  old  man  in 
extremis.  Leaving  him,  the  canon  went  to  the  office  of  a 
local  solicitor,  and  taking  from  there  a  boy  or  young  man, 
returned  to  the  residence  of  Mr.  Moreton.  Taking  this 
youth  and  one  of  the  servant  girls  into  the  bedroom,  the 
rev.  gentleman  produced  a  form  of  will  already  drawn 
out,  raised  Mr.  Moreton  up  in  the  bed,  put  on  his 
spectacles,  placed  a  pen  in  his  hand,  and,  without  reading 
the  will  over  to  him,  got  hold  of  his  hand  and  guided 
the  fingers  of  the  dying  and  insensible  man  to  form  his 
signature  at  the  foot  of  the  will,  which  was  completed  by 


the  solicitor's  clerk  and  the  servant  girl  being  constituted 
witnesses  of  the  assisted  signature.1  By  this  will  the 
whole  of  Mr.  Moreton's  property — some  of  which  he  had 
obtained  through  his  marriage  and  the  total  value  of 
which  is  said  to  be  little  short  of  ,£25,000  or  ,£30,000 — is 
bequeathed  to  the  Right  Rev.  Alexander  Goss,  Bishop  of 
Liverpool,  for  the  benefit  of  religion  as  taught  by  the 
Roman  Catholic  Church.  Not  a  penny's  worth  was  left 
to  Mrs.  Moreton,  not  a  penny's  worth  to  any  of  the 
nephews  and  nieces  of  her  husband  or  herself — there  are 
no  children.  This  pious  work  accomplished,  another 
pious  work  followed,  and  extreme  unction  was  ad- 
ministered to  the  penitent.  Being  now  cared  for,  body 
and  soul,  his  ecclesiastical  friends  had  no  further  need  for 
him.  The  medical  man  saw  him  again  about  nine  o'clock 
that  night  in  the  presence  of  other  persons,  and  the  same 
treatment  as  that  pursued  in  the  morning  was  repeated, 
this  time  it  would  appear  with  a  little  better  success. 
After  being  shaken  and  shouted  to,  the  poor  old  fragment 
of  mortality  muttered  something  about  being  better,  but 
nothing  more  could  be  got  from  him  ;  he  relapsed  into 
unconsciousness,  and  towards  morning  of  the  24th  he 
died,  his  death  being  duly  chronicled  in  the  obituary 
of  a  contemporary  on  the  25th  of  March.  In  due  time 
the  widow  came  to  make  inquiry  into  the  disposition  of 
his  property ;  and  then  she  learnt  how  utterly  bereft  she 

1  There  was  in  fact  no  solicitor's  clerk  present,  the  attesting  witnesses  being 
Canon  Fisher  and  the  servant  girl. 


was  by  that  final  event  which  had  taken  place  in  her 
absence.  Notice  has  since  been  sent  to  the  officials  of 
the  Corporation  on  behalf  of  Bishop  Goss  that  he  is  sole 
legatee,  and  in  that  capacity  will  be  prepared  to  transfer 
the  property  in  Islington  to  the  Corporation  on  payment 
of  the  award  of  ^3300.  The  widow,  it  is  said,  has 
placed  her  affairs  in  the  hands  of  Dr.  Commins,  a  well- 
known  and  able  barrister  of  this  town,  and  it  is  under- 
stood that  she  demands  a  settlement  of  ^500  or  ^600  a 
year  for  her  life,  threatening,  unless  this  be  conceded,  to 
contest  the  validity  of  the  will.  No  doubt  with  that 
worldly  wisdom  which  generally  distinguishes  Roman 
Catholic  policy,  some  quiet  arrangement  will  be  made, 
and  the  affair,  if  possible,  hushed  up ;  for  Bishop  Goss 
would  make  a  very  awkward  appearance  in  a  court  of  law 
as  defendant  in  such  a  claim,  even  supposing  there  was 
a  chance  of  his  establishing  the  validity  of  a  will  executed 
by  an  incompetent  testator. 

"  Having  given  one  side  of  this  singular  story,  it  is  only 
right  to  add  that  there  are  said  to  be  what  may  be  termed 
mitigating  circumstances.  The  father  of  Mr.  Samuel 
Holland  Moreton  was  a  nominal  Protestant,  his  mother 
a  zealous  Roman  Catholic.  He  himself  professed  to  be 
a  member  of  the  same  Church,  though  he  had  not  given 
much  attention  to  its  services  or  ministrations.  In  fact, 
he  could  hardly  be  called  a  pious  son  of  the  Church,  for 
true  piety  would  not  resort  to  such  a  complete  abnegation 
of  natural  ties  and  the  just  claims  of  kindred,  even  for 


the  benefit  of  'religion.'  But  the  disposition  of  his  pro- 
perty, however  improperly  or  suspiciously  brought  about, 
may  have  been  consistent  with  his  intentions.  It  is  said 
that  he  was  frequently  urged,  in  the  interests  of  his  wife, 
to  make  a  settlement  of  his  affairs,  but  he  always  put  the 
matter  off,  though  he  frequently  observed  in  conversation 
with  his  friends  that  he  would  leave  the  bulk  of  the 
property  to  '  the  Church  ' — meaning  the  Roman  Catholic 
Church — and  would  provide  his  widow  with  ^400  or 
,£500  a  year.  In  case  Bishop  Goss  succeeds  in  sustaining 
his  heirship  to  the  property,  and  to  the  Lordship  of  the 
Hundred  of  Wirral,  the  question  arises,  '  What  will  he 
do  with  it?'  The  days  of  clerical  judgeships  in  Eng- 
land are,  we  presume,  past ;  otherwise,  should  Dr.  Goss 
be  entitled  to  exercise  the  unfamiliar  but  presumably 
tremendous  powers  of  his  Lordship,  we  might  anticipate 
that  one  of  the  first  and  most  welcome  of  his  judicial  acts 
would  be  to  harry  and  oppress  arch-heretics  like  ourselves 
— should  we  ever  come  within  his  clutches — for  the  un- 
pardonable sin  of  showing  the  public  how  '  the  Church 
of  Rome  still  endeavours  to  enrich  herself  out  of  death- 
bed penitents.' ' 

The  widow  at  once  took  the  preliminary  steps  to  con- 
test this  extraordinary  will  by  lodging  a  " caveat"  in  the 
Probate  Court.  Meanwhile,  however,  the  clerical  execu- 
tor took  possession  of  Moreton's  estate  and  issued  the 
following  notice  to  the  tenants  : — * 

1  Birkenhead Advertiser,  Mays,  1869. 


"I  hereby  authorise  and  request  you  to  pay  the  rent 
now  due  and  hereafter  to  become  due  from  you  in  respect 
of  the  premises  in  your  occupation  to  Charles  Strawsen  as 
my  agent :  and  I  undertake  to  refund  the  same  to  you  in 
the  event  of  the  will  of  Mr.  Moreton  being  declared 


"(sd)  ALEXANDER  Goss,  D.D., 
"  Executor  to  the  late  Samuel  Holland  Moreton." 

Suggestions  of  a  compromise  between  the  widow  and 
the  bishop,  by  the  latter  allowing  her  a  comfortable  pro- 
vision for  life  on  her  opposition  to  the  will  being  with- 
drawn, produced  a  hostile  article  in  a  local  newspaper 
in  these  terms  : — 1 

11  No  doubt  the  bishop  would  be  glad  to  come  to  some 
such  arrangement  of  an  awkward  business,  and  we  may 
well  believe  that  he  would  be  ready  to  avail  himself  of 
any  friendly  persuasion  which  would  be  likely  to  have 
the  desired  effect  upon  the  widow.  But  there  is  a  story 
current  as  to  the  kind  of  influence  which  is  being  brought 
to  bear  in  the  matter  which  is  so  ludicrous  that  we  only 
give  it  in  order  to  show  what  singular  lengths  some  people 
will  go  in  superstitious  belief.  ...  It  appears  that 
Mrs.  Moreton,  pending  law  proceedings,  still  resides  at 
the  Manor  House.  .  .  .  She  is  accompanied  by  two 
women  servants,  devout  Roman  Catholics,  one  of  whom 
used  to  be  servant  to  the  Rev.  Father  Fleetwood,  who 
was  the  Roman  Catholic  chaplain  to  the  Liverpool  Work- 

1  Liverpool  Courier,  June  16,  1869. 


house  and  died  of  fever  in  the  discharge  of  his  duties. 
One  of  these  women  is,  it  appears,  a  see-er  of  visions  and 
a  dreamer  of  dreams,  and  the  story  goes  that  she  has  on 
several  occasions  recently  seen  the  ghost  of  the  deceased 
Mr.  Moreton  walk  up  and  down  the  house  and  evidently 
*  onaisy  in  his  mind,'  like  the  pig  that  sees  the  wind  in 
the  song  of  'The  Whistling  Thief.'  One  day  last  week 
at  the  early  hour  of  six  A.M.  .  .  .  she  came  upon  the 
spectre  of  the  departed  Lord  of  the  Wirral  Wapentake 
standing  under  a  favourite  apple  tree  in  the  orchard  and 
wiping  his  forehead  in  an  agony  of  perspiration — the  infer- 
ence being  that  his  spirit  was  troubled  about  the  proceed- 
ings of  his  relict  in  the  matter  of  his  disputed  will.  The 
woman  was  so  frightened  that  she  ran  off  and  told  the 
village  constable.  Whether  the  rural  police  have  succeeded 
in  effectually  laying  the  ghost  we  have  not  heard,  but  we 
should  strongly  advise  them  not  to  interfere,  because  there 
are  delicate  questions  of  purgatory  which  might  get  sadly 
mixed  up  if  their  interference  proved  successful.  The 
whole  story  has  created  an  immense  sensation  amongst  the 
Cheshire  rustics,  some  of  whom  shrewdly  shake  their  heads 
and  say  that  the  whole  thing  is  intended  to  frighten  Mrs. 
Moreton  into  compliance  with  the  wishes  of  the  dignitaries 
of  the  Church  to  which  her  deceased  husband  belonged." 

The  proceedings  soon  reached  another  development, 
related  as  follows  : — 

"  When  we  last  noticed  the  affair,  very  great  pressure  of 


a  peculiar  kind  was  being  brought  to  bear  upon  the  widow 
with  the  view  of  inducing  her  to  give  up  her  opposition  to 
the  righteous  document  which  has  left  her  penniless  in 
old  age,  after  acting  the  part  of  a  faithful  wife  to  her 
husband  during  the  long  period  they  were  united.  The 
course  adopted  was  quite  in  accordance  with  the  principle 
of  spiritual  terrorism  which  is  part  of  the  ecclesiastical 
system  of  the  Church  of  Rome,  and  that  the  superstitious 
— probably  its  devotees  would  say  the  miraculous — char- 
acter of  the  priestly  influence  might  be  duly  sustained,  a 
ghost  is  still  being  utilised,  we  are  given  to  understand, 
with  considerable  success.  Mrs.  Moreton,  in  fact,  is 
surrounded  by  creatures  whose  office  is  to  secure  that  the 
golden  prize  of  her  late  husband's  wealth  shall  not  elude 
the  Church's  grasp.  Her  nurses  or  attendants  are 
obedient  daughters  of  Romanism,  and  one  of  them  is 
gifted  with  a  special  power — she  can  see  visions,  and 
doubtless  dream  dreams.  This  is  the  person  who  has  on 
several  occasions  encountered  the  spirit  of  the  deceased 
Mr.  Moreton  wandering  about  the  orchard  of  the  Manor 
House  at  untimely  hours  of  the  morning — untimely  that 
is,  as  far  as  ghosts  are  concerned,  for  one  A.M.  is  the 
generally  prescribed  time — and  this  dilatory  spirit  (Mr. 
Moreton,  we  believe,  was  generally  a  late  getter  up)  is 
always  five  or  six  hours  behindhand.  The  ghost  is  usually 
in  an  unhappy  frame  of  mind — on  one  occasion  the  spec- 
tator saw  it  wipe  an  agony  of  perspiration  from  its  brow 
on  a  silk  pocket-handkerchief ;  and  this,  by  the  way, 


is  the  first  well-authenticated  instance  of  a  disembodied 
spirit  carrying  such  a  useful  article.  The  ghost  of 
Hamlet's  father,  with  which  we  have  hitherto  been  best 
acquainted,  is  distinguished  by  a  helmet,  a  plume,  a  deep 
bass  voice,  and  a  painful  habit  of  saying  '  Swear '  ;  but 
Mr.  Moreton's  ghost,  with  whom  in  time  the  public  may 
hope  to  become  on  intimate  terms,  will  henceforth  be 
distinguished  by  its  silk  pocket-handkerchief.  How  it 
has  come  to  escape  from  the  limbo  of  purgatory  we  are 
not  authentically  informed,  and  as  this  is  very  delicate 
ground  we  forbear  to  inquire  further.  But  the  inference 
is  clear,  that  the  ghost  has  something  on  its  mind  ;  and  as 
the  deceased  purchased  everlasting  peace  by  making  Dr. 
Goss  his  heir,  the  conclusion  is  natural,  that  the  discom- 
fort arises  from  the  results  of  the  heirship  being  hitherto 
interfered  with  by  the  widow's  contumacy  in  disputing 
the  will.  When  the  ghost  was  visible  on  the  occasion 
more  particularly  referred  to,  the  sympathetic  sightseer 
rushed  to  seek  the  aid  of  the  village  constable  ;  but  the 
rural  police  having  failed,  as  we  felt  convinced  they 
would  fail,  in  putting  down  the  ghost,  the  servant  woman 
next  resorted  to  the  parish  priest  at  Neston,  a  mile 
or  two  off.  This  pious  and  venerable  gentleman,  it  is 
understood,  was  much  shocked  upon  the  first  disclosure 
of  the  widow's  disinheritance  in  favour  of  Dr.  Goss, 
and  very  freely  expressed  his  opinion  that  Mrs.  Moreton 
had  been  hardly  used  in  the  matter.  But  time  works 
wonders,  even  in  the  conviction  of  a  well-seasoned  Roman 


Catholic  priest,  and  a  singular  change  of  policy  on  the 
part  of  the  reverend  gentleman  has  led  to  the  latest 
development  in  this  celebrated  will-making  case.  It  is 
stated  that  at  several  interviews  with  Mrs.  Moreton  lately, 
sought  by  the  lady  with  the  view  of  arranging  for  the 
saying  of  masses  for  the  soul  of  the  dead,  the  Neston 
priest  has  played  the  part  of  a  Job's  comforter  ;  that  he 
has  pointed  out  that  her  husband  was — well,  not  a  first- 
class  saint,  though  perhaps  a  very  clever  lawyer,  and 
that  his  property  having  been  acquired  by  crooked  ways, 
he  can  never  by  any  possibility  get  through  purgatory 
and  present  himself,  duly  whitewashed,  before  St.  Peter, 
unless  atonement  is  made  by  devoting  the  property  to 
holy  uses — in  other  words,  letting  'the  Church,'  in  the 
person  of  Dr.  Goss,  take  all.  At  the  same  time  he 
assured  her  that  the  Church  authorities  were  not  un- 
mindful of  her  claims,  and  he  read  to  her  two  letters 
purporting  to  come  from  Dr.  Goss,  or  to  be  written  with 
his  authority,  offering  to  provide  her  with  £200  a  year 
during  the  rest  of  her  life,  to  leave  her  in  undisturbed 
possession  of  the  Manor  House  at  Thornton  Hough, 
and  of  the  furniture  there  and  at  the  house  in  William 
Brown  Street,  Liverpool,  where  Mr.  Moreton  died,  be- 
sides paying  the  ground  rent,  about  ^50  a  year,  for 
the  house  and  land  at  Thornton  Hough.  What  other 
arguments  in  the  way  of  applying  what  may  be  termed 
the  power  of  the  spiritual  screw  were  used,  or  what 
threats  of  anathema  maranatha  at  the  latter  end  were 


held  out,  is  not  stated,  but  a  devout  daughter  of  the 
Church,  verging  on  threescore  and  ten,  and  almost 
entirely  dependent  on  the  Church's  'generosity'  in  life 
as  well  as  in  death,  would  be  almost  more  than  mortal 
to  resist  the  influences  which  can  be  brought  to  bear 
on  such  an  occasion,  and  we  are  not  surprised  at  the 
result.  The  letters  were  not  entrusted  to  the  widow, 
not  even  copies  allowed,  so  wily  are  these  priestly  will- 
managers,  as  in  that  case  the  friends  of  Mrs.  Moreton 
would  have  something  tangible  to  lay  hold  of,  but  a 
paper  in  legal  form  was  put  before  the  old  lady,  and 
she  was  induced  to  sign  it.  Whether  she  knew  its  full 
import  or  not  may  be  surmised  ;  but  in  fact  it  was  this — 
a  notice  to  her  solicitor,  who  had  hitherto  acted  in  her 
behalf,  to  stay  proceedings  and  withdraw  the  caveat 
against  the  will.  The  lawyer,  we  believe,  is  not  inclined 
to  let  his  client's  interest  be  sacrificed,  and  he  declines 
to  stay  proceedings  until  some  legal  guarantee  is  given 
by  Bishop  Goss  for  the  payment  of  a  due  provision  to 
the  widow,  in  case  the  caveat  is  withdrawn.  Most  prob- 
ably some  such  guarantee  will  be  given  and  accepted. 
A  single  member  of  the  Church  placed  in  the  peculiar 
position  of  Mrs.  Moreton  can  hardly  be  expected  to 
fight,  single-handed,  successfully,  the  whole  spiritual 
power  of  the  Church,  and  so  far  as  Mrs.  Moreton  and 
Dr.  Goss  are  concerned  the  affair  is  likely  to  end  in 
such  a  compromise  as  we  have  indicated.  What  the 
Government  may  do  in  the  matter,  or  whether  the  law 


officers  of  the  Crown  may  feel  inclined  to  withdraw  the 
claim  they  have  set  up,  is  another  thing."  l 

Following  upon  this  an  official  statement  was  pub- 
lished 2  that  the  widow  had  withdrawn  her  opposition  to 
the  will  for  ^"200  per  annum  and  the  use  of  the  Wirral 
Manor  House  rent  free  for  life,  this  arrangement  being  con- 
tingent upon  the  bishop  being  able  to  prove  the  will.  In 
announcing  this  settlement  it  was  remarked  "there  the 
matter  stands  at  present,  unless  the  heir-at-law,  who  is  sup- 
posed to  be  in  Australia,  turns  up  and  sets  aside  the  will." 
This  was  the  only  cloud  to  mar  the  felicity  of  the  settle- 
ment from  the  bishop's  point  of  view,  and  unfortunately  it 
burst  over  his  head.  Grace,  whose  claims  to  recognition 
in  Moreton's  will  were  ignored,  had  felt  aggrieved  and  set 
about  to  discover  an  heir-at-law.  Some  one  in  America 
named  Hill  (apparently  no  relation  at  all !)  was  unearthed, 
and  intervened  just  in  time  to  prevent  the  will  being  proved 
without  opposition.  Another  complication  had  also  been 
introduced  by  the  intervention  of  the  Crown,  in  the  name 
of  the  Duchy  of  Lancaster,  claiming  the  freehold  and  part 
of  the  personal  estate  of  the  deceased  as  an  intestate  and 
without  kin. 

In  the  meantime  the  tenants  on  the  estate  did  not  know 
which  way  to  turn.  Notices  and  counter  notices  were 
served  by  the  bishop,  the  widow,  and  the  so-called  heir, 

1  Liverpool  Courier,  July  3.  1869. 

2  Liverpool  Courier,  July  9,  1869. 


each  claiming  payment  of  the  rents.  A  complete  stranger 
named  Bell  also  joined  in  and  demanded  the  rents  ;  and 
when  the  tenants,  not  unnaturally  under  the  circumstances, 
declined  to  pay  any  one,  he  levied  a  distress  and  removed 
furniture,  to  which  he  had  no  shadow  of  title,  to  a  ware- 
house. The  sequel  was  a  summons  in  the  law  courts  and 
an  order  upon  the  unfortunate  warehouseman  to  give  up 
the  goods  at  once  and  pay  the  costs.1 

The  Moreton  will  case,  which  by  this  time  was  a  cause 
cefebre,  came  before  Lord  Penzance  in  June  1870.  It 
lasted  the  better  part  of  six  days.2  An  array  of  distin- 
guished counsel  was  engaged.  Sir  John  Karslake  and 
11  Mr."  Charles  Russell  appeared  for  the  bishop  ;  the  Soli- 
citor-General (Sir  John  D.  Coleridge),  Mr.  West,  Q.C., 
and  Mr.  Inderwick  for  the  Duchy ;  and  Dr.  Deane, 
Q.C.,  and  Dr.  Swabey  for  the  heir-at-law. 

Much  hard  swearing  occurred,  but  the  facts  turned 
out  to  be  practically  identical  with  those  related  in 
the  newspaper  article  already  quoted. 

Canon  Fisher,  D.  D.,  gave  evidence  that  he  prepared  the 
will  on  Moreton's  instructions,  using  a  copy  of  "Jarman 
on  Wills,"  which  apparently  formed  part  of  his  theological 
library ;  that  he  suggested  the  employment  of  a  solicitor, 
but  Moreton  declined  to  have  anything  more  to  do  with 
lawyers,  saying  they  were  "the  scrapings  of  hell."  He 
denied  that  Moreton  was  moribund  at  the  time,  or  that  he 

1  Liverpool  Courier,  Dec.  30,  1869. 

*  Fully   reported    in  the   Liverpool   Courier  of  4th,   6th,    i6th,    lyth,    i8th,   and 
22nd  June  1870. 


held  the  deceased's  hand.  The  other  attesting  witness, 
Ellen  Chatterton,  a  servant,  denied  that  she  had  told 
several  people  that  Canon  Fisher  guided  Moreton's  hand, 
and  now  asserted  that  the  deceased  fully  understood  what 
he  was  doing.  Severe  comments  were  made  by  counsel 
and  the  Judge  upon  the  fact,  stated  by  Canon  Fisher,  that 
it  was  understood  between  him  and  the  dying  man  that, 
although  the  widow  was  not  to  be  mentioned  in  the  will, 
the  bishop  was  to  allow  her  ^200  a  year,  whereas  in  fact 
he  did  not  agree  to  do  so  until  she  disputed  the  will  and 
became  a  dangerous  opponent. 

It  was  proved  that  the  signature  to  the  will  was  totally 
unlike  that  of  the  dead  man,  and  that  though  a  lawyer  he 
had  signed  in  the  wrong  place.  This,  coupled  with  the 
contradictions  of  the  witnesses  and  the  evidence  of  Dr. 
Stopford  Taylor,  the  deceased's  medical  attendant,  was  so 
conclusive  that  Lord  Penzance  had  no  hesitation  in  saying 
that  Moreton  at  the  time  was  incapable  of  making  a  will, 
and  that  the  one  set  up  was  invalid. 

Great  but  unsuccessful  efforts 1  were  made  to  free  Dr. 
Goss  from  paying  the  enormous  costs  of  the  litigation, 
upon  the  grounds  that  he  was  abroad  at  the  time  the  will 
was  made  and  took  no  real  part  in  the  matter.  He  died 
suddenly  in  October  1872,  and  there  is  reason  to  suppose 
his  death  was  accelerated  by  the  odium  which  he  had  to 
suffer  through  his  connection  with  the  case,  although  there 
is  no  evidence  that  he  was  in  any  way  a  party  to  Canon 

1  Goss  v.  Hill  and  others,  40  L.  J.  P.  39  ;  25  L.  T.  133. 


Fisher's  proceedings.1  Mrs.  Moreton  was  left  practically 
penniless,  as  of  course  the  annuity  promised  by  the  bishop 
if  successful  never  became  payable. 

Upon  the  declaration  of  intestacy  prolonged  litigation 
at  once  ensued  between  many  rival  claimants  to  Moreton's 
property,  which  was  variously  estimated  but  seems  origin- 
ally to  have  been  worth  some  ^20,000.  It  consisted  of 
freehold  and  leasehold  estates  which,  according  to  the  law 
of  intestacy,  went  to  the  heir-at-law  and  the  next-of-kin 
respectively.  As  regards  the  leasehold  property,  our  only 
interest  is  in  the  Manor  House,  the  sale  of  which,  in  1874, 
has  been  already  mentioned.  The  widow  was  appointed 
administratrix  in  1871,  but  died  in  February  1873  ;  and  after 
further  legal  proceedings  administration  of  the  personal 
estate  of  Moreton  was  granted  to  Elizabeth  Alcock,  a 
distant  cousin,  by  whom  the  leasehold  property  was  sold 
for  the  benefit  of  the  next-of-kin. 

Finding  the  heir-at-law  (to  whom  the  Lordship  of 
Wirral  would  pass)  was  a  more  difficult  matter,  and  in  the 
double  process  practically  the  whole  estate  was  dissipated. 
An  inquiry  was  held  at  Liverpool  to  ascertain  the  heir,  and 
as  Moreton's  birth  certificate  could  not  then  be  found,  it 
was  assumed  that  he  was  illegitimate,  whereupon  the 
Duchy  of  Lancaster  took  possession  of  all  the  freehold 
property,  including  the  Hundred  franchise,  as  having 
escheated  to  the  Crown.  Inquiries  were,  however,  still 

1  For  account  of  Dr.  Goss,  see  Diet.   Nat.  Biog.     He  wrote  the  introduction  to 
"  Crosby  Records  "  (Chetham  Soc.). 


prosecuted  by  speculative  persons,  with  the  result  that  a 
very  distant  connection,  named  James  Moreton,  was  dis- 
covered. He  was  a  wheelwright  and  very  illiterate,  and 
it  was  said  that  his  claim  was  exploited  with  considerable 
advantage  to  others  but  practically  none  to  himself.  His 
advisers  successfully  brought  an  action  l  to  recover  the 
estates  from  the  Crown,  James  Moreton  was  declared 
heir-at-law,  and  the  deeds  relating  to  the  Lordship  of 
Wirral,  were,  with  the  others,  handed  over  by  the  Duchy. 

James  Moreton  was  now  Lord  of  the  Hundred  of 
Wirral  and  entitled  to  all  that  remained  of  Samuel 
Holland  Moreton's  estates.  His  friends,  however,  did 
not  allow  him  to  benefit  very  much  by  this,  and  he  was 
kept  out  of  the  way  in  the  Isle  of  Man  and  elsewhere, 
whilst  his  inheritance  gradually  disappeared.  Upon  his 
return  he  was  forced  to  resume  his  occupation  as  a 
wheelwright  at  a  weekly  wage  as  there  was  no  money 

There  is  a  deed  dated  September  i,  i875,2  under 
which  he  seems  to  have  sold  all  his  rights  as  Lord  of 
the  Hundred  of  Wirral  to  Joseph  Leather,  a  veterinary 
surgeon  in  Liverpool.  Leather's  account  of  this  trans- 
action was  that  Moreton  wished  to  make  him  a  present 
of  the  rights  for  services  rendered,  but  that  he  insisted 
on  paying  £20  for  them.  In  some  prolonged  litigation 
which  ensued  between  them  in  connection  with  the 

1  Moreton  v.  A.  G.  of  Duchy  of  Lanes.     Judgment  given,  June  25,  1872. 
z  In  the  possession  of  F.  E.  Roberts,  Esq.,  solicitor,  Chester. 


recovered  estates,  Moreton  denied  this  and  stated  that 
he  had  no  knowledge  of  the  transaction.  After  a  lengthy 
trial  before  Vice-Chancellor  Bacon,  all  the  transactions 
between  the  parties  were  ordered  to  be  reopened  and  in- 
vestigated, but  a  compromise  was  subsequently  arranged. 
One  of  the  terms  of  settlement  was  that  Leather  should 
re-transfer  the  Hundred  rights  to  James  Moreton.  This 
was  carried  out  by  a  deed  of  March  19,  1879,*  and  James 
Moreton  resumed  his  Lordship  of  the  Hundred  of 
Wirral,  and  the  ownership  of  such  of  Samuel  Moreton's 
property  as  survived  the  ten  years  of  incessant  litigation. 

James  Moreton  lived  for  a  few  years  longer,  and 
during  his  life  some  attempts  were  made  from  time  to 
time  to  enforce  the  few  rights  which  survived  to  the 
Lord  of  the  Hundred.  Notices  were  sent  to  fishermen 
and  others  claiming  any  sturgeon  caught  on  the  coasts 
of  the  Dee  and  Mersey,  but  produced  no  results,  as 
the  fish  were  usually  cooked  and  eaten  or  sold  without 
regard  to  the  notices,  and  it  was  not  worth  while 
attempting  to  proceed  against  the  fishermen. 

When  the  Manchester  Ship  Canal  was  commenced 
notices  were  served  upon  the  promoters  claiming  com- 
pensation in  respect  of  the  foreshore  of  the  Mersey,  but 
the  Canal  Company  declined  to  admit  that  the  Lord  of 
the  Hundred  of  Wirral  had  any  right  to  the  foreshore, 

1  In  the  possession  of  F.  E.  Roberts,  Esq. ,  solicitor,  Chester.  The  writer  was 
baffled  for  a  long  time  by  this  re-transfer  in  his  search  for  the  present  owners  of  the 
franchise,  as  he  not  unnaturally  assumed  it  had  passed  on  to  the  descendants  of 


and  the  claim  was  dropped.  This  must  have  been  the 
last  effort  made  to  establish  any  of  the  Hundred  rights, 
and  forms  a  curious  link  between  ancient  and  modern 

James  Moreton  died  in  September  1883,  and  under 
his  will  (which  was  proved  at  Liverpool)  the  last  remnants 
of  the  franchise  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral  passed  with 
his  other  property  to  his  executors,  Charles  Stanyer  and 
William  Dutton,  upon  trusts  for  sale  for  the  benefit  of 
his  three  sisters,  Catherine  Dodd,  Jane  Lee,  and  Margaret 
Green,  and  their  respective  children. 

For  the  past  twenty  years  no  attempt  has  been  made 
to  exercise  any  of  the  lord's  rights,  and  we  can  safely 
bring  our  account  of  the  franchise  of  the  Hundred  of 
Wirral  to  a  close  at  this  point,  as  doubtless  nothing 
more  will  ever  be  heard  of  it  except  in  the  unlikely 
event  of  a  find  of  valuable  Treasure  Trove,  when  it  might 
be  worth  while  for  the  numerous  persons  now  entitled 
to  an  interest  under  the  will  of  the  last  lord  to  put 
forward  their  claim. 

APPENDIX    No.   I 

List  of  Officers  and  Lords  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral 

(The  names  and  figures  for  the  years  when  the  Hundred  was  not  farmed  are  printed  in  italics.) 


Names  of  Bedells  and  Farmers, 

Names  of  Sheriffs'  Approvers. 

Revenue  when 
no  Lease. 

Reference  or 



RANULPH  RAKET           ) 


M.  A.  784,  2,  m.  3. 

The  first  year  for  which 
the    Sheriffs'    accounts 

survive    (see  App.    II. 

No.    i).     The    rent  is 

made  up   of  3  farms  : 

the  bedelry,j£7,  i6s.  8d.  ; 

the  waifs,  135.  4d.  ;  and 

the  half  perquisites,  &c. 

135.   <}d.      In  Bucklow 

Hundred    the    bedelry 


rent  was^5,  i6s.  4d.  ,  and 


the  half  perquisites  155. 


PHILIP  EUYAS                        f 


M.  A.  784,  3,  m.  3. 


(quarter  of  year  only)          ) 

2  13    4 

M.  A.  784,  5. 

For  the  last  three-quar- 
ters of  year  the  revenue 

is  collected  by  ap- 

provers, the  bedelry  pro- 

ducing j£5,  153.  id.  ,  the 

Henry  de  Chorleton  \ 


waifs  i6s.  ,  and  the  per- 

Ranulph Raket         ) 


quisites  155.  id. 



12     0     0 

M.  A.  784,  6,  m.  2. 

The    rent    of  bedelry 

raised  to  £10,  133.  4d. 

That  of  Bucklow  raised 

to  £7,  i8s. 



12     0     0 

M.  A.  784,  7. 




Names  of  Bedells  and  Farmers, 
Names  of  Sheriff's  Approvers. 


Revenue  when 
no  Lease. 

Reference  or 




£   *    d. 

12     0     0 

M.  A.  784,  10. 


Henry  de  Chorleton 

5    4    i 

M.  A.  785,  4. 

The  actual  revenue  of 
the  3  items  ^3,  los.  7d., 
243.  6d.  ,  and  gs.  respec- 


Henry  de  Chorleton  \ 
Henry  Coly               ) 

79  ij    6 

M.  A.  785,  7. 

The  perquisites  pro- 
duced j£is,  155.  sd. 


Henry  Coly 

17  ^3    i 

M.  A.  785,  8. 

The  perquisites  pro- 
duced £12,  153.  7d. 


Henry  Coly            \ 
Henry  del  Meoles] 

12  18    9 

M.  A.  785,  9,  m.  4. 

The  waifs  in  Bucklow 
produced  273.  ;  in  Brox- 

ton>  ;£$•  os-  4^.  ;  in 
Wirral,  i8s.  6d. 


•:.     } 


M.  A.  786,  i,  9. 

Record  decayed. 


:.     } 

9  14  " 

M.  A.  786,  4. 



II     0     0 

M.  A.  786,  5. 

The  farms  resumed, 
the  bedelry  at  j£8,  the 
waifs  at  los.  and  the 
half  perquisites  at  503. 



II     0     0 

M.  A.  786,  6. 



II     0     0 

M.  A.  786,  7. 



II     0     0 

M.  A.  786,  8. 


[?  H.  Coly] 

II     0     O 

M.  A.  787,  i. 

No  bedell's  name  given. 


[roll  missing] 




Names  of  Bedells  and  Farmers, 
Names  of  Sheriffs'  Approvers. 

Revenue  when 
no  Lease. 

Reference  or 



H.  Coly 

£    S-    d± 
to    i    8 

M.  A.  787,  2. 

The  revenue  included 
,£8.  55.  8d.  bedelry 
and  perquisites,  and 
335.  fines  for  "putura" 
and  from  freeholders. 
No  profit  from  prison 


[?  Farmer  not  named] 

7  10    o 

M.  A.  787,  4. 



10     0     0 

M.  A.  787,  5,  m.  4. 

An  inclusive  farm  of 
the  Hundred  which  in- 
cluded the  waifs,  the 
perquisites,  the  bedelry, 
the  serjeanty  of  the 
peace,  stallage,  and 
apparently  "  pelf." 
.,£20,  2s.  was  paid  for 
the  same  in  Bucklow. 



10     0     0 

M.  A.  787,  7,  m.  4. 


[record  missing] 


[record  missing] 



10     0     0 

M.  A.  787,  8. 


[record  missing] 


His  PARTNER              J 

10     0     0 

M.  A.  787,  9,  m.  4. 


[record  missing] 



10     0     0 

M.  A.  788,  2. 



10     0     0 

M.  A.  788,  3. 




Names  of  Bedells  and  Farmers, 
Names  of  Sheriffs'  Approvers. 

Revenue  wlien 
no  Lease. 

Reference  or 




£   *•    d. 
10     0     0 

M.  A.  788,  4. 


PULTON                              J 


M.  A.  788,  6,  m.  4. 


::           } 


M.  A.  788,  8,  m.  4. 

The  farm  of  Broxton 
Hundred  £20. 


::          ! 


M.  A.  789,  i. 


HENRY  LE  BRUYN               ) 


M.  A.  789,  5,  m.  4. 

The  farmers  are  de- 
scribed as  "  ballivi," 
and  not  as  bedells. 




M.  A.  789,  6. 




9  13    4 

M.  A.  789,  7. 



9  13    4 

M.  A.  789,  8,  m.  4. 


HENRY  LE  BRUYN             ) 

10     0     0 

M.  A.  789,  10,  m.  4. 

The  same  farmers  as  in 
1386,  but  called  bedells. 



10     O     0 

C.  R.  R.  64,  m.  2, 
d.  9. 

This  lease  is  enrolled 
(see  App.  II.  No.  2). 
The  farm  of  Broxton 
j£i2,  135.  4d.,  Edis- 
bury  £8. 



10     0     0 

M.  A.  790,  3,  m.  4. 

The  farm  of  Nantwich 
Hundred  £10. 



10     0     0 

M.  A.  790,  5,  m.  7. 



10     0     0 

M.  A.  790,  6,  m.  4. 



10     0     0 

M.  A.  790,  7,  m.  6. 

The  farm  of  Edisbury 
£12,  6s.  8d. 




Names  of  Bedells  and  Farmers, 
Names  of  Sheri/s'  Approvers. 

Revenue  when 
no  Lease. 

Reference  or 




£   *.    d. 
10     0     0 

C.  R.  R.  70,  m.  4, 
d.  8. 
M.  A.  790,  8,  m.  5. 

This  lease  is  enrolled 
(see  App.  II.  No.  3). 
The  farm  of  Edisbury 
/io,  Broxton  £12, 
Northwich  ,£5,  6s.  8d. 



10     0     0 

M.  A.  790,  9,  m.  4. 

The  farm  of  Edisbury 
£4,  Bucklow  £7,  6s.  8d. 



10     0     0 

M.  A.  790,  10,  m.  5. 

The  farm  of  Bucklow 
£?,  6s.  8d. 


JOHN  LE  LYTEL      j 


M.  A.  791,  i,  m.  7. 




M.  A.  791,  3,  m.  7. 

The  farm  of  Bucklow 
j£n.  Broxton  £11. 




M.  A.  791,  5. 




M.  A.  791,  6,  m.  5. 
C.  R.  R.  76,  m.  13 

This  lease  is  enrolled 
(see  App.  II.  No.  4). 


ROGER  TRULL                      ( 

8  10    o 

M.  A.  791,  7,  m.  5. 



8  10    o 

M.  A.  791,  10,  m.  5. 


RICHARD  DE  BENTON         j 

8  10    o 

M.  A.  792,  i,  m.  6. 


JOHN  RATHBON        ) 

8  13    4 

M.  A.  792,  2,  m.  6. 



8  13    4 

M.  A.  792,  3,  m.  6. 



SEE                                                        > 


8  13    4 

M.  A.  792,  5,  m.  6. 




Names  of  Bedells  and  Farmers, 
Names  of  Sheriffs'  Approvers. 

Revenue  when 
no  Lease. 

Reference  or 




£   *.    d. 
8  13    4 

M.  A.  792,  6,  m.  7. 

The  farm  of  Edisbury 
£8,  135.  4d. 


JOHN  BENET              j 

8  13    4 

M.  A.  792,  8. 




M.  A.  792,  9. 

The  account  is  only 
from  Mich.  1411  to 
Jan.  14,  1412.  No  re- 
ceipts from  the  farms 
of  the  Hundreds  of 
Cheshire,  nor  from  the 
waifs,  nor  from  prison 
suit.  The  perquisites 
of  all  the  Hundreds 
were  apparently  at 
farm,  but  no  name  is 



PULLE                                                V 

WILLIAM  HARE                     J 

8  13    4 

M.  A.  792,  10. 

No  profit  from  prison 



8  13    4 

M.  A.  793,  i,  m.  7. 

No  receipts  from  prison 



8  13    4 

M.  A.  793,  2. 


HENRY  ADAM       J 

8  13    4 

M.  A.  793,  3. 



8  13    4 

M.  A.  793,  5. 



8  13    4 

M.  A.  793,  6. 



8  13    4 

M.  A.  793,  8. 




Names  of  Bedells  and  Farmers, 
Names  of  Sheriffs'  Approvers. 

Revenue  when 
no  Lease. 

Reference  or 




£    '.    d. 
8  13    4 

M.  A.  793,  10. 


ROBERT  BRYDE                j 

8  13    4 

M.  A.  794,  i. 

Tbe  Sheriff  accounts 
for  43.  fines  of  judgers 
and  suitors  of  the  Hun- 
dred of  Wirral  "  pro 
sectis  suis  hoc  anno 
integro  comitatus  ces- 
triensis  apud  cestrien- 
sem  relaxandis.  '  '  [This 
kind  of  entry  frequently 


HUGH  Doo            J 

8  13    4 

M.  A.  794,  2. 



FORD                                                    V 

JOHN  DE  KNOWESLEY           j 

8  13    4 

M.  A.  794,  3,  m.  12. 


JOHN  Fox           \ 

8  13    4 

M.  A.  794,  4,  m.  12. 


JOHN  JEVANSONE                   \ 
LEGHTON                            J 


M.  A.  794,  s,m.  13. 


JOHN  JEVANSONE          ) 


M.  A.  794,7,  m.  13. 




M.  A.  794,9,  m.  13. 


WILLIAM  FAYRY        > 


M.  A.  795,  i,  m.  13. 


JOHN  HOBSON          ) 


M.  A.  795,  3,  m.  12. 




M.  A.   795,  4,  m. 
12  d. 




Names  of  Bedells  and  Farmers, 
Names  of  Sheriffs  Approvers. 

Revenue  -when 
no  Lease. 

Reference  or 




£    *•    d. 

M.  A.  795,  5,  m. 
13  d. 


HUGH  Doo             j 


M.  A.  795,  6,  15,  d. 




M.  A.  795,  7,  m. 




M.  A.  795,  8,  m. 
17  d. 




M.  A.  795,  9,  m. 




M.  A.  795,  10,  m. 
17  d. 


[record  decayed]    ) 


M.  A.  796,  i,  m. 
15  d. 




M.  A.  756,  3,  m. 


HAMOND  DE  LEE        j 


M.  A.  796,  4,  m. 
17  d. 


RALPH  SMYTH        j 


M.  A.  796,  5,  m. 


JOHN  HEBSON           j 


M.  A.  796,   6,   m. 


ROBERT  BRID           ) 


M.  A.  796,  7,  m. 
14  d. 




M.  A.  796,  8,  m. 
12  d. 




Names  of  Bedells  and  Farmers, 
Names  of  Sheriffs'  Approvers. 

Revenue  when 
no  l^ase. 

Reference  or 




£   J.    d. 

M.  A.  796,   9,   m. 
13  d. 




M.  A.  796,  10,  m.  12. 

The  farm  of  Nantwich, 
£7,  33.  4d. 


ROBERT  MORE                      J 


M.  A.  797,  i,  m.  12. 
C.    R.    R.   119,  m. 
6,  u. 

Lease  of  office  of  bailiff 
and  bedell  for  20  years 
(enrolled.  SeeApp.  II. 
No.  5).  The  rent  is 
paid  regularly  up  to 
and  including  1459, 
when  the  lease  seems 
to  have  come  to  an 
end.  The  farm  of  Edis- 
bury  £8. 


Thomas  Whityngham 

/   IO      0 

M.  A.  798,  7,  m.  10. 

The  approver  could 
only  collect  303.  for  the 
two  years  covered  by 
this  account. 



2  15    7 

M.  A.  798,  9,  m.  10. 




M.  A.  798,  10,  m.  10. 



I  IO     0 

M.  A.  799,  i,  m.  n. 



o  16    9 

M.  A.  799,  3,  m.  9. 


Geoffrey  Wolley 

z    5    o 

M.  A.  799,  4,  m.  8. 


{Edmund  Litherlanrf] 

M.  A.  799,  5,  m.  8. 

The  Sheriff  returns  no 
profits  from  the  Hun- 
dred as  EdmundLither- 
land,  the  bailiff  of 
Wirral,  took  them. 


[Henry  Litherland  \ 
William  Aleyn}     ] 

M.  A.  799,  6,  m.  8. 

No  return  by  the  Sheriff, 
but  he  is  debited  with 
303.  in  respect  of  the 
revenue  for  this  and 
the  preceding  years. 



Names  of  Bedells  and  Farmers, 
Names  of  Sheriffs'  Approvers. 

Revenue  when 
no  Lease. 

Reference  or 



[John  Bowland  \ 
Roger  Oldefield\  ) 

£  *.  d. 

M.  A.  799,  7,  m.  8. 

No  return  by  the  Sheriff, 
but  he  is  debited  with 
2os.  8d.  collected  by 
the  bailiffs  of  Wirral. 



M.  A.  799,  8,  m.  7. 

No  return.  The  Sheriff 
debited  with  175. 


[record  missing] 


Roger  Oldefield  ) 
John  Bowland  ) 

o  16    i 

M.  A.  799,  9,  m.  8. 


John  Bowland     \ 
Geoffrey  Wollor] 

I      O      O 

M.  A.  800,  i,  m.  7. 


William  Ormeston  > 
Robert  Cristelton      J 


M.  A.  800,  2,  m.  7. 



I    6    8 

M.  A.  800,  3,  m.  8. 

The  first  lease  since  the 

ROGER  HULL            j 

of  1445. 


ROGER  HULL       j 

I    6    8 

M.  A.  800,  4,  m.  9. 


JOHN  TYLIAT       f 

I    6    8 

M.  A.  800,  5,  m.  8. 


JOHN  TYLIAT          ) 

I    6    8 

M.  A.  800,  6,  m.  8. 



I    6    8 

M.  A.  800,  7,  m.  7. 



I    6    8 

M.  A.  800,  8,  m.  8. 



I    6    8 

M.  A.  800,  10,  m.  8. 



I    6    8 

M.  A.  801,  i,  m.  7. 



Names  of  Bedells  and  Farmers, 
Names  of  Sheriffs'  Approvers. 

Revenue  when 
no  Lease. 

Reference  or 



[record  missing] 

£   *•    d. 



I    6    8 

M.  A.  801,  a. 



I    6    8 

M.  A.  II.  1500,  m. 

No  income  from  the 
fines  of  judgers  and 
suitors  of  the  Hundreds, 
which  in  18  Ric.  II. 
produced  £13. 



I    6    8 

M.  A.  II.  1501,  m.  6. 



I    6    8 

M.  A.  II.  1502,  m.  6. 


JOHN  TILLIAT             ) 

I    6    8 

M.  A.  II.  1503  ,m.  7. 



I    6    8 

M.  A.  II.  1504,  m.  7. 



I    6    8 

M.  A.  II.  1506. 



I    6    8 

M.A.  II.  1508,  m.  7. 


JOHN  TILLIAT                ) 

I    6    8 

M.A.  II.  1509,  m.  7. 



I    6    8 

M.A.  II.  1510,  m.  7. 



I    6    8 

M.A.  II.  1511,  m.  9. 



I    6    8 

M.  A.  II.  1512,  m. 



I    6    8 

M.A.  II.  1513,  m.  8. 




Names  of  Bedells  and  Farmers, 
Names  of  Sheriffs'  Approvers. 

Revenue  -when 
no  Lease. 

Reference  or 



JOHN  DANSON                j 

£   *•    d. 
I    6    8 

M.  A.  II.  1514,  m.  8. 



I    6    8 

M.  A.  II.  1515,  m.  9. 



I    7    8 

M.  A.  II.  1516,  m.  8. 

Probably  a  mistake  for 
£i.  6s.  8d. 



I    6    8 

M.  A.  II.  1517,  m.  7. 



I    6    8 

M.A.  II.  1518,  m.  9. 



I    6    8 

M.  A.  II.  1519,  m.  9. 

The  account  is  dated 
17-18  Hen.  VIII.,  but 
should  be  dated  18-19 
Hen.  VIII. 


[records  missing] 

It  seems  doubtful  if  any 
accounts  ever  were  ren- 
dered for  these  3  years. 



I    6    8 

M.  A.  II.  1520,  m. 




I  10     0 

M.  A.  II.  1522,  m. 

C.   R.  R.    176,   m. 
9,  2. 

A  lease  for  2  years 
(enrolled.  See  App. 
II.  No.  6). 



i  ii    8 

C.  R.  R.  179,  m.  i. 

M.  A.  (Chester)  i  & 
2  Hen.  VIII. 

A    lease    for  14  years 
(enrolled.      See    App. 
II.   No.  7).      Rent  in- 
creased is.  8d. 
Farm    of    Edisbury 
£6,  IDS. 



I  il    8 

M.  A.  (Chester)  16- 
21  Hen.  VIII. 

The  lease  of  1509  appa- 
rently renewed. 
The    enrolments    can- 
not be  found. 



Names  of  Bedells  and  Farmers, 
Names  of  Sheriffs'  Approvers. 

Revenue  when 
no  Lease. 

Reference  or 




£   s.    d 
I  II    8 

M.  A.  (Chester)  21 
Hen.  VIII. 



I  II    8 

M.  A.  (Chester)  22 
Hen.  VIII.-36 

The  M.  A.  do  not  give 
the  lessee's  name  for  a 
period  of  65  years  and 
no  enrolments  can  be 
found.  The  bedell  is  not 
mentioned  after  the  end 
of  Hen.  VIII.  North- 
wichisletfor^7,  is.  8d. 
in  1538.  Bucklow  for 
£2,  os.  4d.  in  1558,  and 
Nantwich  for  £8  in 



I  II    8 

Aug.  Office,  Mis- 
cell.  Books,  228, 
f.  148. 

Lease  for  21  years 
(enrolled.  SeeApp.  II. 
No.  8). 



I  II    8 

Land    Rev.    Enrol, 
vol.  clvii.  f.  122. 

Lease  for  27  years 
(enrolled.  SeeApp.  II. 
No.  9). 



Royalist  Composi- 
tion Papers,  1646. 




2   II      8 

Pipe  Office,  Crown 
Leases,  2859. 

Lease  for  21  years. 
Rent  increased  £i  (en- 
rolled. See  App.  II, 
No.  10). 


THOMAS  DOD  (on  a  surrender  ) 
by  RANDLE  DOD)                 j 

2  II     8 

Pipe  Office,  Crown 
Leases,  3261. 

Lease  for  31  years 
(enrolled.  SeeApp.  II. 
No.  n).  The  rent  of 
the  Hundred  of  Buck- 
low  in  1681,  £2,  75. 



Transferee  [?]. 



2  II     8 

Pipe  Office,  Crown 
Leases,  3801. 

Lease  for  25  years  in 
trust  for  John  Glegg 
(enrolled.  SeeApp.  II. 
No.  12).  The  rent  of 
the  Hundred  of  Buck- 
low  in  1701,  £a,  75. 
and  £i  heriot. 



Names  of  Bedells  and  Farmers, 
Names  of  Sheriffs'  Approvers. 

Revenue  when 
no  Lease. 

Reference  or 




£  s.  d 

2  II     8 

Pipe  Office,  Crown 
Leases,  4373. 

Lease     for     29     years 
(enrolled.    SeeApp.  II. 
No.  13). 



2  II     8 

Pipe  Office,  Crown 
Leases,  5099. 

Lease     for     25     years 
(enrolled.    SeeApp.  II. 
No.  14). 



Land  Rev.  Enrol, 
vol.  xvi. 

Deed   of    transfer   (en- 
rolled.    See  App.    II. 
No.  15). 


2  II     8 

Pipe  Office,  Crown 
Leases,  6012 

Lease     for    27    years 
(enrolled.    SeeApp.  II. 
No.  16).     The  rent  of 
the  Hundred  of  Buck- 
low,  £2,  IQS.  raised  in 
1813  to  £3,  IDS. 



As  heir  of  John  Glegg. 


Lords  of  the  Hundred. 





Land  Rev.  Enrol,  vol.  xviii.  f.  35. 

The  Hundred  sold  by 
the  Crown  for  .£230. 
(Deed    enrolled.      See 
App.  II.  No.  17). 



Mortgage  deeds  23-24  Feb.  1829. 



Will  of  Samuel  Williams. 



Deed,  Sept.  23,  1854. 

Sale  of   the   Hundred 
for  £99,  195. 



As  heir-at-law. 


The  devisees  under  the  will  of 
James  Moreton 

Leases,  etc.,  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral  from  1352  to  1820 


IN  view  of  their  inaccessibility  the  writer  has  printed  all  the  enrolled 
leases.  Except  of  the  first  document  no  translations  seem  necessary. 
The  leases  in  English  will  be  sufficient  for  the  general  reader,  whilst 
others  will  prefer  the  original  Latin.  The  deed  of  1820  is  fully  printed, 
as  seems  desirable,  seeing  that  a  mutilated  copy  is  given  in  Mortimer's 
"  History  of  Wirral."  The  deeds  subsequent  to  1 820  are  in  the  ordinary 
forms  of  deeds  relating  to  freehold  property  and  are  of  no  interest. 

No.  i 
Farms  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral,  1352 

CHESTER.     (M.A.  CHESTER,  BUNDLE  784.  No.  2.) 

Exitus  vagorum.  [Idem  respondet]  de  xiijs  iiijd  de  exitibus  vagorum 
Hundredi  de  Wirhal  sic  affirmatis  Ranulpho  Raket  et 
Henrico  de  Chorleton,  bedellis  hoc  anno : 

Perquisita   Hun-  et  de  xiijs  iiijd  de  medietate  perquisitorum  Hundredi 

dredorum.  de  Wirhal  sic  affirmata  Ranulpho  Raket  et  Henrico 

de  Chorleton,  bedellis  hoc  anno.     Unde  alia  medietas 

pertinet  eisdem  bedellis  ratione  firme  sue  per  con- 


Firma  Bedel-  et  de  vij11  xvjs  viijd  de  firma  bedelerie  Hundredi  de 
lorum  Wirhal  sic  affirmate  hoc  anno  Ranulpho  Raket  et 

Henrico  de  Chorleton  bedellis,  per  dictos  camerarium 
et  vicecomitem,  qui  capient  ratione  firme  sue  medietatem  perquisitorum 
et  amerciamentorum  totius  Hundredi,  puturam  vel  finem  pro  putura  de 
antiquo  delicto  per  loca  in  Hundredo  predicto,  fines  diversorum  liberorum 
tenentium  per  cartam  quorum  terre  et  tenementa  non  excedunt  valorem 



xls  per  annum  ne  faciant  summonitiones  in  panellis,  terciam  partem 
valoris  vagorum  per  eos  presentatorum,  et  suetam  de  indictatis1  de 
transgressionibus  a  tempore  brevis  vicecomitis  percepti  pro  eisdem 
attachiatis  respectuandis  usque  proximum  comitatum. 


Issues  of  the  [He  answers]  for  135.  4d.  in  respect  of  the  issues  of 
waifs.  the  felons'  goods  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirhal  let  to  farm 

to  Ranulph  Raket  and  Henry  de  Chorleton  the  bedells 

for  this  year : 

Perquisites  of  the  and  for  135.  4d.  for  one  half  of  the  perquisites  of  the 
Hundreds.  Hundred  of  Wirhal  let  to  farm  to  Ranulph  Raket  and 

Henry  de  Chorleton  the  bedells  for  this   year;   the 

other  half  belongs  to  the  bedells  by  reason  of  their 

farm  by  customary  agreement : 

Farm  of  the  and  for  £7,  i6s.  8d.  from  the  farm  of  the  bedelry  of 
Bedells.  the  Hundred  of  Wirhal  let  to  farm  for  this  year  by  the 

said  Chamberlain  and  Sheriff  to  Ranulph  Raket  and 
Henry  de  Chorleton  the  bedells,  who  will  take  by  reason  of  their  farm 
half  of  the  perquisites  and  amerciaments  of  the  whole  Hundred  ;  puture 
or  a  fine  in  lieu  thereof  in  respect  of  the  ancient  obligation  in  various 
places  in  the  said  Hundred;  the  fines  paid  by  divers  freemen  holding 
by  charter  whose  lands  and  tenements  do  not  exceed  in  value  405.  per 
annum,  to  avoid  having  to  serve  the  jury  summonses ;  a  third  part  of 
the  value  of  the  felons'  goods  presented  by  them ;  and  suit  from  those 
indicted  for  trepasses  from  the  time  of  the  sheriff's  writ  being  received 
for  respiting  the  same  attached  persons  until  the  next  County  Court. 

NOTE. — This  entry  occurs  more  or  less  in  the  same  form  until  1372.  The  chief 
variations  are  in  the  words  immediately  following-  "suetam,"  which  are  either  "  in- 
dictatorum  de  transgressionibus  "  or  "  prisonum  indictatorum."  The  meaning  seems 
the  same.  "  Debito  "  is  sometimes  written  for  "  delicto."  In  1372  an  inclusive  farm 
was  taken  "  Vagorum,  perquisitorum  hundredi,  bedelrie,  serjantie  pacis  et  stallagii 
Hundredi  de  Wyrhall "  and  apparently  included  "  certa  bona  et  catalla  felonum  et 
fugitivorum  que  vocantur  pelf.:>  (M.A.  787,  5,  m.  4). 

1  Always  hitherto  read  as  "medietate,"  but  the  writer's  suggestion  that  it  was  "in- 
dictatis "  was  verified  by  Mr.  W.  K.  Boyd  after  the  roll  had  been  treated  with  solution. 


No.  2 

Lease  of  the  Bedelry  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral  to  Henry 
le  Bruyn  and  Richard  de  Prestlond,  1391 

(C.  R.  R.  No.  64,  M.  2,  D.  9.) 

Cognitio  pro  do-  HENRICUS  LE  BRUYN  de  Morton  et  Ricardus  de  Prest- 
ntino  Rege.  lond  venerunt  in  scaccario  hie  die  et  anno  predictis l 

et  ceperunt  ad  firmam  officium  bedellarie  hundredi  de 
Wirehale  per  tempus  predictum  2  Reddentes  domino  regi  pro  officio 
predicto  per  idem  tempus  x  libras  per  manucapcionem  coram  vicecomite 
inveniendam.  Et  nisi,  etc. 

No.  3 

Lease  of  the  Bedelry  to  Thomas  de  Waley,  1397 
(C.  R.  R.  No.  70,  M.  4,  D.  8.) 

Dimissio     offici-  THOMAS  DE  WALEY  venit  in  scaccario  hie  die  et  anno 

orum    Bedellari-  predictis 3  coram  prefatis  camerario   et   vicecomite  et 

arum    Hundred-  cepit  ad    firmam    officium   Bedellarie  in  hundredo  de 

orum  in  comitatu  Wirehale  Tenendum  per  tempus  predictum4  Reddens 

Cestriae.  inde    domino    regi   per    idem    tempus   hie   ad    scac- 

carium  predictum  x  libras  solvendas  ad  festa  predicta 


No.  4 

Lease  of  the  Bedelry  to  John  de  Saynesbury  and 
Hugo  de  Brumburgh,  1403 

(C.  R.  R.  No.  76,  M.  13,  u.) 

Dimissio  ad  fir-  JOHANNES  DE  SAYNESBURY  unus  ballivorum  vice- 
wow  bedellarie  comitis  Cestrie  in  hundredo  de  Wirehale  venit  in 
hundredi  de  scaccario  hie  IX.  die  Augusti  anno  regni  regis  Henrici 
Wyrehale.  quarti  post  conquestum  quarto  et  cepit  ad  firmam  tarn 

nomine  suo  proprio  quam  nomine  Hugonis  de  Brum- 
burgh consortis  sui  et  alterius  ballivorum  in  hundredo  predicto  officium 
bedellarie  hundredi  de  Wyrehale  Habendum  sibi  cum  omnibus  exitibus 

1  5th  Oct.,  15  Ric.  II.  2  One  year  from  Michaelmas. 

3  2 ist  Feb.,  20  Ric.  II.  4  One  year  from  Michaelmas  last. 


1 78  APPENDIX   II 

et  proficuis  eidem  officio  pertinentibus  sive  spectantibus  a  festo  sancti 
Michaelis  anno  regni  regis  Henrici  post  conquestum  tercio  usque  festum 
sancti  Michaelis  extunc  proxime  sequens  Reddens  inde  domino  comiti 
Cestrie  viii  libras  solvendas  ad  festum  sancti  Michaelis  proxime  futurum. 

NO.  5 

Henry  VI.'s  Lease  to  Sir  Thomas  Stanley  and  others,  1445 
(C.  R.  R.  No.  119,  M.  6,  10  &  u.) 

Dimissio  ad  fir-  REX  etc.  Omnibus  ad  quos  presentes  litterae  pervene- 
mam  Hundredi  rint  Salutem.  Sciatis  quod  concessimus  et  ad  firmam 
de  Wyrehale.  dimisimus  dilecto  et  fideli  nostro  Thome  Stanley  militi 
Galfrido  Starkey  de  Northwico  et  Roberto  More 
officium  ballivi  et  bedellarie  hundred!  de  [Wyrehale]  l  cum  omnibus 
exitibus  proficuis  Turnis  vicecomitis  et  aliis  commoditatibus  eidem 
officio  qualicumque  pertinentibus  sive  spectantibus  Habendum  eisdem 
Thome  Galfrido  et  Roberto  a  festo  Sancti  Michaelis  ultime  preterite  usque 
finem  termini  viginti  annorum  extunc  proxime  sequentium  plenarie 
complendorum  Reddendum  inde  nobis  annuatim  ad  scaccarium  nostrum 
Cestrie  septem  libras  ad  festa  Pasche  et  Sancti  Michaelis  equaliter. 

In  cujus  rei  testimonum  has  litteras  nostras  fieri  fecimus  patentes. 
Teste  me  ipso  apud  Cestriam  xii  die  Octobris  anno  regni  nostri 
vicesimo  quarto. 

No.  6 

Henry  VII.'s  Lease  of  the  Hundred  to  Robert  Trafford,  1507 

(C.  R.  R.  No.  176,  M.  9,  2.) 

[Dimissio]  ad  HENRICUS  etc.  Omnibus  etc.  Sciatis  quod  nos  per 
\firmam\  \Ro-  manucapcionem  Johannis  Trafford  capellani  concessi- 
ber\to  \Traffor\d  mus  et  ad  firmam  dimisimus  Roberto  Trafford  omnes 
Hundredi  de  exitus  placitorum  hundredi  de  Wirehall  necnon  fines 
Wyrehall.  amerciamenta  forisfacturas  et  commoditates  ballivae 

predictae  pertinentes  sive  aliquo  modo  spectantes  cum 
exercitacione  et  occupacione  ballivae  predictae  Habendum  et  Tenendum 

1  The  same  parties  took  a  lease  of  the  Hundred  of  Eddisbury,  which  is  fully  enrolled 
as  above,  and  is  followed  by  an  abridged  "  consimilis  dimissio  "  of  the  Hundred  of 


eidem  Roberto  et  assignatis  suis  a  festo  sancti  Michaelis  Archangel! 
ultirae  preterite  usque  finem  termini  duorum  annorum  extunc  proxime 
sequentium  et  plenarie  complendorum  Reddendum  inde  annuatim  nobis 
et  heredibus  nostris  comitibus  Cestrie  ad  scaccarium  nostrum  ibidem 
viginti  sex  solidos  et  octo  denarios  prout  responsum  fuit  in  compotis 
precedentibus  et  tres  solidos  et  quatuor  denarios  ultra  de  incremento 
Solvendos  ad  festa  Pasche  et  Sancti  Michaelis  Archangeli  per  equales 

In  cujus  rei  etc.     Teste  etc.  Primo  die  Decembris  anno  regni  nostri 
vicesimo  tercio. 

No.  7 

Henry  VIII.'s  Lease  of  the  Hundred  to  John  ap  Ithell 
and  James  Bebynton,  1509 

(C.  R.  R.  No.  179,  M.  i.) 

HENRICUS  dei  gratia  Rex  Anglic  et  Francie  et  dominus  Hibernie  Omni- 
bus ad  quos  presentes  litterae  pervenerint.  Salutem.  Sciatis  quod  nos 
per  manucapcionem  Johannis  Glegge  de  Gayton  armigeri  concessimus 
et  ad  firmam  dimisimus  Johanni  ap  Ithell  et  Jacobo  Bebynton  et  eorum 
alteri  omnes  exitus  et  proficua  officui  Ballivi  et  Bedellarie  hundredi 
nostri  de  Wirehall  in  comitatu  Cestrie  Habendum  et  tenenendum  eisdem 
Johanni  et  Jacobo  et  assignatis  suis  a  festo  Sancti  Michaelis  Arch- 
angeli ultime  preterito  usque  finem  termini  quatuor  decem  annorum 
extunc  proxime  sequentium  et  plenarie  complendorum  Reddendum 
inde  annuatim  nobis  ad  [scaccarium]  nostrum  Cestrie  triginta  solidos 
et  viginti  denarios  de  incremento  annuatim  solvendos  ad  festa  Pasche 
et  Sancti  Michaelis  Archangeli  per  equales  porciones. 

In  cujus  rei  testimonium  has  litteras  nostras  fieri  fecimus  patentes. 
Teste  me  ipso  apud  Cestriam  decimo  Januarii  anno  regni  nostri  primo. 

No.  8 
Queen  Elizabeth's  Lease  to  Cuthbert  Venables,  1596 


Cestria.  REGINA  omnibus  ad  quos  etc.  Salutem.     Sciatis  quod 

nos   pro   quadam   pecuniae   summa  nomine   finis  ad 

Receptorem   Scaccarii   nostri   ad   usum   nostrum  per  dilectum  nobis 


Cuthbertum  Venables  soluta  de  avisamento  dilectorum  et  fidelium 
consiliariorum  nostrorum  Willelmi  Baron  de  Burghley  Thesaurarii 
nostri  Anglie  et  Johannis  Fortescue  militis  Cancellarii  et  subthesaurarii 
curiae  Scaccarii  nostri  Tradidimus  concessimus  et  ad  firmam  dimisimus 
ac  per  presentes  Tradimus  concedimus  et  ad  firmam  dimittimus  prefato 
Cuthberto  Venables  Totum  illud  Hundredum  nostrum  de  Wyrehall 
cum  suis  juribus  membris  et  pertinentiis  universis  in  comitatu  nostro 
Cestriae  Ac  omnes  illos  certos  annuales  redditus  ad  dictum  hundredum 
solubiles  spectantes  et  pertinentes  ac  etiam  omnes  et  omnimodi  curias 
letas  visum  franciplegii  ac  perquisita  et  proficua  earundem  ac  etiam 
fines  et  amerciamenta  in  curia  [de  Turno]  vicecomitis  in  hundredo  pre- 
dicto  facta  necnon  felonum  et  fugitivorum  felonum  sectam  ad  curiam 
hundredi  predicti  ac  relevia  escaetas  exitus  lez  lawdayes  assaiam  et 
assisas  panis  vini  bere  et  cervisie  waviata  bona  et  catalla  felonum  et 
fugitivorum  felonum  de  se  et  in  exigendis  positorum  condempnatorum 
et  utlagatorum  extrahuras  theolonia  custumas  consuetudines  deodanda 
jurisdictiones  privilegia  proficua  commoditates  advantagia  et  emolu- 
menta  quecunque  hundredo  predicto  pertinentia  sive  spectantia  aut 
infra  hundredum  predictum  accidentia  provenientia  renovantia  sive 
emergentia  in  tarn  amplis  modo  et  forma  pro-ut  aliquis  Comes  aut 
aliqui  Comites  in  Cestria  in  jure  aut  racione  hundredi  predicti  unquam 
habuit  tenuit  vel  gavisus  fuit  habuere  tenuere  vel  gaudere  debuere  aut 
debuit  ac  pro-ut  ea  omnia  et  singula  premissa  ad  manus  nostras  devenere 
aut  devenire  debuerunt  aut  debent  parcellam  possessionum  olim 
Comitis  Cestriae  in  dicto  Comitatu  Exceptis  tamen  semper  et  nobis 
heredibus  et  successoribus  nostris  omnino  reservatis  omnibus  et 
omnimodi  finibus  et  amerciamentis  et  exitibus  annuatim  de  tempore 
in  tempus  provenientibus  crescentibus  sive  renovantibus  in  aliqua 
Curia  sive  aliquibus  curiis  nostris  de  Recordo  (preterquam  in  Curia 
Hundredi  predicti)  sive  coram  Justiciariis  nostris  ad  assisas  sive  coram 
Justiciariis  nostris  ad  pacem  aut  clerico  mercati  provenientibus  cres- 
centibus sive  renovantibus  ac  pro  libertate  levacionum  et  colleccionum 
infra  hundredum  predictum  Habendum  et  Tenendum  predictum  Hun- 
dredum ac  cetera  omnia  et  singula  premissa  superius  per  presentes 
dimissa  cum  eorum  juribus  membris  libertatibus  privilegiis  et  perti- 


nentiis  universis  (exceptis  pre-exceptis)  prefato  Cuthberto  Venables 
executoribus  et  assignatis  suis  a  festo  Sancti  Michaelis  Archangeli 
ultime  preterite  usque  ad  finem  termini  et  per  terminum  viginti  et 
unius  annorum  extunc  proxime  sequentium  et  plenarie  complendorum 
Reddendum  inde  annuatim  nobis  heredibus  successoribus  nostris 
trigenta  unum  solidos  et  octo  denarios  legalis  monetae  Anglic  ad 
festa  Annunciacionis  Beate  Marie  Virginis  et  Sancti  Michaelis  Arch- 
angeli ad  Receptorem  Scaccarii  nostri  seu  ad  manus  Ballivi  vel  Recep- 
torum  pro  tempore  existente  per  equates  porciones  solvendos  durante 
termino  predicto.  Proviso  semper  quod  si  contigeret  predictum  red- 
ditum  superius  per  presentes  reservatum  sic  aretro  fore  non  solutum 
in  parte  vel  in  toto  per  spacium  quadraginta  dierum  post  aliquod 
festum  festorum  predictorum  quo  ut  prefertur  solvi  debeat  quod  tune 
et  deinceps  haec  presens  dimissio  et  concessio  vacua  sit  ac  pro  nihilo 
teneatur  aliquo  in  presentibus  in  contrarium  inde  non  obstante  aliquo 
statute  etc.  In  cujus  rei  etc.  Teste  etc.  apud  Westmonasterium  vice- 
simo  die  Februarii  anno  regni  nostri  tricesimo  octavo. 

No.  9 
Charles  I.'s  Lease  to  William  Trafford,  1628 


Indentura  Wil-  THIS  Indenture  made  the  vth  daye  of  November  anno 
lelmi  Trafford  Domini  1628  and  in  the  iiijth  yeere  of  the  raigne  of  our 
pro  Hundredo  Soveraigne  Lorde  Charles  by  the  grace  of  God  Kinge 
de  Were  hall  in  of  England  Scotland  France  and  Ireland  defender  of 
Comitatu  Cestrie.  the  faith  &c.  Betweene  Sir  John  Walter  Knight 
Chiefe  Baron  of  his  Majestes  Courte  of  Exchequer,  Sir 
James  Fullerton  Knight  one  of  the  Gentlemen  of  his  Majestes  Bed- 
chamber, and  Sir  Thomas  Trevor  Knight  one  of  the  Barons  of  his 
Majestes  saide  Courte  of  Exchequer,  of  the  one  parte,  and  William 
Trafford  of  BridgtrafFord  in  the  Countye  of  Chester  gentleman,  of  the 
other  parte :  Whereas  the  saide  Sir  John  Walter,  Sir  James  Fullerton 
and  Sir  Thomas  Trevor  doe  stand  and  are  possessed  amongst  other 

1 82  APPENDIX   II 

thinges  of  and  in  the  Hundred  of  Wirehall  with  the  rightes  members 
and  appurtenances  in  the  Countye  of  Chester  parcell  of  the  ancient 
possessions  of  the  Earle  of  Chester  for  the  terme  of  divers  yeeres  yet 
enduringe  to  and  for  the  onlye  use  and  behoofe  of  the  Kinges  Majestic : 
And  whereas  theire  was  a  composition  made  the  xxiiijth  daye  of 
November  1624  by  his  Majestes  Comissioners  of  that  revenue  which 
he  had  when  he  was  Prince  of  Wales,  to  and  with  the  saide  William 
Trafford  for  a  lease  of  all  the  thinges  hereinafter  graunted  for  the 
terme  of  xxxitie  yeeres  to  comence  from  the  Feaste  of  Saint  Michael 
Tharchangell  last  paste  before  the  date  of  the  saide  composition  in 
consideration  of  the  Fine  of  x1'-  and  of  the  yeerly  rente  hereinafter 
reserved  :  Which  lease  hath  bine  neglected  to  be  sued  forth :  Now  this 
Indenture  witnesseth  that  the  saide  Sir  John  Walter,  Sir  James 
Fullerton  and  Sir  Thomas  Trevor  by  warrant  of  his  Majestes  saide 
comission  as  well  for  and  in  consideration  of  the  saide  some  of  xu- 
already  payde  to  the  handes  of  his  Majestes  Receivours  Generall  of 
that  revenue  which  was  his  Highnes  when  he  was  Prince  for  and  in 
the  name  of  a  fine,  as  for  the  yeerly  rente  hereinafter  reserved,  have 
granted  and  to  Farme  letten,  And  by  theis  presentes  doe  graunte  and 
to  Farme  lett  unto  the  saide  William  Trafford :  All  that  Hundred  of 
Wirehall  with  the  rightes,  members  and  appurtenances  what  soever 
in  the  saide  Countye  of  Chester  and  all  yearly  rentes  certaine  to  the 
saide  Hundred  payeable  belonginge  or  appurteyninge,  And  allsoe  all 
and  all  manner  of  Courte  leetes,  viewes  of  Franckpledge  and  perquisites 
and  profittes  of  the  same,  and  allsoe  all  Fines  and  Amerciamentes  made 
in  the  Turne  Courtes  of  the  Sheriffe  in  the  Hundred  afore  saide,  And 
alsoe  suite  at  the  Hundred  Courte  aforesaide,  And  alsoe  Releifes, 
escheates,  issues,  lawedayes,  Assisse  of  Breade,  wine,  Beere  and  Ale, 
waifes,goodes  and  chattells  of  Felons  and  Fugitives,  felons  of  themselves, 
and  putt  in  exigent  condempned  men,  and  outlawes,  estrayes,  Tolles, 
customes,  deodandes,  rightes,  jurisdictions,  priviledges,  profittes, 
comodities,  advantages  and  emolumentes  whatsoever  to  the  Hundred 
aforesaide  belonginge  or  apperteyninge  (except  and  alwayes  reserved 
out  of  this  present  demise  and  graunte,  all  fines,  issues,  and  amercia- 
mentes,  yeerlye  and  from  tyme  to  tyme  cominge,  encreasinge  or 

APPENDIX    II  183 

renewinge  in  any  Courte  or  Courtes  of  record  besides  in  the  Hundred 
Courte  aforesaide  or  before  the  Justices  of  Assisse  or  before  the  Kinges 
Majestes  Justices  of  Peace,  or  the  Clarke  of  the  Markett  with  libertye 
for  the  leavyinge  and  collection  of  the  same  within  the  Hundred  afore- 
saide) :  To  have  and  to  holde  the  saide  Hundred  of  Wirehall,  and  all 
and  singular  other  the  premisses  with  thappurtenances  (except  before 
excepted)  unto  the  saide  William  Trafford  his  executours  Adminis- 
tratours  and  Assignes  from  the  Feaste  of  Saint  Michael  Tharchangelt 
last  paste  before  the  date  hereof  unto  the  full  ende  and  terme  of  xxvijtie 
yeeres,  from  thence  next  ensuinge  fullye  to  be  compleate  and  ended. 
Yeldinge  and  payinge  and  the  saide  William  Trafford  for  his  heires 
executours,  administratours  and  assignes  doeth  covenant  and  promise  to 
and  with  the  said  Sir  John  Walter  Sir  James  Fullerton  and  Sir  Thomas 
Trevor  and  theire  Assignes  by  theise  presentes  to  yeelde  and  paye 
therefore  yeerely  duringe  the  saide  terme  the  yeerelye  rente  or  some 
of  xxxjs  viijd  of  lawfull  monye  of  England  at  twoe  usuall  Feastes  or 
termes  in  the  yeere  (that  is  to  saye)  at  the  Feastes  of  Saint  Michael 
Tharchangell  and  Thanunciacion  of  the  blessed  Virgin  Marye  by  even 
and  equall  portions  to  be  paide  to  the  handes  of  his  Majestes  Receiver 
or  Receivours  of  the  premisses  for  the  tyme  beinge  to  his  Majestes  use  '• 
Provided  alwayes  that  if  the  saide  yeerelye  rent  of  xxxjs  viijd  or  any 
parte  thereof  shalbe  behinde  and  unpaide  after  anye  of  the  saide 
Feastes  wherin  the  same  ought  to  be  payde  by  the  space  of  xxiijtie 
dayes  then  this  presente  lease  and  graunte  to  be  void,  and  of  none 
effect  any  thinge  herein  conteyned  to  the  contrarye  in  any  wise  not- 
withstandinge.  And  the  saide  William  Trafford  for  himselfe  his  heires, 
executors,  administratours  and  assignes  doeth  covenante  and  graunte 
to  and  with  the  said  Sir  John  Walter  Sir  James  Fullerton  and  Sir 
Thomas  Trevor  and  theire  assignes  by  these  presentes,  That  he  the 
saide  William  Trafford  his  executours,  administratours  and  assignes, 
shall  and  will  from  tyme  to  tyme  duringe  the  saide  terme  finde  and 
provide  a  sufficient  Stewarde  skillfull  in  the  lawes  to  keepe  the  Courtes 
within  the  saide  Hundred  and  shall  paye  to  him  his  Fees,  and  shall 
beare  and  paye  all  chardges  and  expences  whatsoever  which  shall  from 
tyme  to  tyme  be  necessarilye  expended  aboute  the  keepinge  of  the 

i84  APPENDIX   n 

saide  Courtes.  And  alsoe  shall  and  will  yeerleye,  and  everye  yeere 
duringe  the  saide  terme  make  and  deliver  or  cause  to  be  made  and 
delivered  unto  the  saide  Kinges  Majestic  or  his  heires  or  to  the 
comissionours  of  his  revenue  for  the  tyme  being  a  true  and  perfec 
extract  of  all  the  Fines  issues  and  amerciaments  and  other  casualties 
profittes  and  comodityes  whatsoever  arysing  or  receaved  within  the 
saide  Hundred  to  the  end  his  Highnes  inheritance  may  be  therby  the 
better  knowne  and  preserved.  And  shall  not  doe  nor  suffer  nor  consent 
to  be  done  anye  acte  or  default  whereby  his  Highnes  right  to  anye  of 
the  saide  casualties  maye  be  any  waies  prejudiced  or  impared.  And 
lastlye  shall  and  will  enroll  this  lease  or  cause  the  same  to  be  inrolled 
before  his  Majestes  Auditor  of  the  premisses  within  sixe  monthes  next 
after  the  date  hereof  upon  paine  to  forfeite  to  his  Majestic  his  heires 
and  successors  Cs  of  lawfull  monye  of  Englande  for  defaulte  of  such 

In  witness  whereof  to  the  one  parte  of  theise  presentes  remayninge 
in  the  handes  of  the  saide  William  Trafford  the  saide  Sir  John  Walter 
Sir  James  Fullerton  and  Sir  Thomas  Trevor  by  warraunte  aforesaide 
have  putt  theire  handes  and  Scales  :  And  to  the  other  parte  of  the  saide 
Indenture  remayninge  in  the  handes  of  the  saide  Sir  John  Walter  Sir 
James  Fullerton  and  Sir  Thomas  Trevor  the  saide  William  Trafford 
have  putt  his  hande  and  Scale  the  daye  and  yeere  above  written. 

Sealed  and  delivered  by  the  within  named  Sir  JOHN 
WALTER  in  the  presence  of 

William  Wickstead. 
Wm.  Milles. 

Sealed  and  delivered  by  the  within  named  Sir  JAMES 
FULLERTON  in  the  presence  of 

Nich.  Guille. 
Ja.  Natone. 

Sealed  and  delivered  [by]  the  within  named  Sir  THO. 
TREVOR  in  the  presence  of 

Ed.  Harris. 
William  Wickstead. 


No.  10 
Charles  II.'s  Lease  to  John  Carter,  1662 

(PIPE  OFFICE,  CROWN  LEASES,  No.  2859.) 

Dimissio  facta  REX  omnibus  ad  quos  etc.  Salutem.  Sciatis  quod  nos 
Johanni  Carter  tarn  pro  et  in  consideracione  Increment!  redditus 
generoso  Totius  inferius  per  presentes  reservati  quam  pro  quibusdam 
illius  Hundredi  aliis  bonis  causis  et  consideracionibus  nos  ad  presens 
de  Wirehall  in  moventibus  de  avisamento  dilecti  et  fidelis  consan- 
Comitatu  pre-  guinei  et  consiliarii  nostri  Thome  comitis  Southampton 
dido  Reddendo  summi  Thesaurarii  nostri  Anglic  ac  etiam  dilecti  et 
per  annum  xxx?  fidelis  consiliarii  nostri  Anthonii  Domini  Ashley  Can- 
viiid  et  XXs  de  cellarii  et  subthesaurarii  Curie  Scaccarii  nostri  Tradi- 
incremento  pro  dimus  Concessimus  et  ad  firmam  dimisimus  ac  per 
xxi  annis.  presentes  pro  nobis  heredibus  et  successoribus  nostris 

tradimus  concedimus  et  ad  firmam  diraittimus  dilecto 
nobis  Johanni  Carter  generoso  totum  illud  hundredum  nostrum  de 
Wirehall  cum  suis  juribus  membris  et  pertinenciis  quibuscunque  in 
comitatu  nostro  cestrie  ac  omnes  certos  annuales  Redditus  dicto 
Hundredo  solubiles  spectantes  vel  pertinentes  ac  etiam  omnia  et  omni- 
moda  curias  letas  et  visus  franciplegii  et  perquisita  et  proficua  eorundem 
ac  etiam  omnia  fines  et  amerciamenta  facta  in  Curia  de  Turno  vice- 
comitis  in  dicto  Hundredo  ac  etiam  sectam  ad  curiam  Hundredi 
predicti  Necnon  relevia  escaetas  exitus  dierum  legalium  Curias  assisae 
panis  vini  cervisie  et  zithi  waviata  bona  et  catalla  felonum  et  fugitivorum 
felonum  de  se  et  in  exigendis  positorum  condemptnatorum  et  utlaga- 
torum  extrahuras  tollneta  custumas  deodanda  jura  jurisdictiones 
privilegia  proficua  commoditates  advantagia  et  emolumenta  quecunque 
dicto  Hundredo  spectantia  vel  pertinentia  Exceptis  tamen  semper  et 
nobis  heredibus  et  successoribus  nostris  omnino  reservatis  omnibus 
finibus  exitibus  et  amerciamentis  annuatim  et  de  tempore  in  tempus 
provenientibus  accrescentibus  vel  renovantibus  in  aliqua  curia  vel 
curiis  nostris  de  Recordo  (preter  in  curia  Hundredi  predicti)  coram 
Justiciariis  ad  assisas  Justiciaries  ad  pacem  vel  coram  clerico  mercati 

1 86  APPENDIX   II 

cum  licencia  levandi  et  colligendi  eadem  infra  dictum  Hundredum  Que 
omnia  et  singula  premissa  superius  per  presentes  dimissa  sunt 
Parcella  possessionum  olim  comitis  Cestrie  in  dicto  comitatu  Habendum 
Tenendum  et  Gaudendum  Hundredum  predictum  ac  cetera  premissa 
superius  per  presentes  dimissa  seu  dimitti  mencionata  cum  eorum 
juribus  membris  libertatibus  et  pertinenciis  universis  (exceptis  pre- 
exceptis)  prefato  Johanni  Carter  [generoso  executoribus]  et  assignatis 
suis  a  festo  Annunciationis  beate  Marie  Virginis  ultime  preterite  usque 
ad  finem  termini  et  per  terminum  viginti  et  unius  annorum  extunc 
proxime  sequentium  et  plenarie  complendorum  Reddendo  inde  annuatim 
nobis  heredibus  et  successoribus  nostris  triginta  unum  solidos  et  octo 
denarios  legalis  monete  Anglic  (prout  antea  responsum  fuit)  necnon 
viginti  solidos  consimilis  legalis  monete  Anglic  ultra  de  incremento  per 
annum  ad  festa  sancti  Michaelis  Archangeli  et  Annunciationis  beate 
Marie  Virginis  ad  receptam  Scaccarii  nostri  heredum  et  successorum 
nostrorum  Westmonasterii  seu  ad  manus  vicecomitis  Comitatus  Cestrie 
predicte  pro  tempore  existente  per  equales  porciones  Solvendos  durante 
termino  predicto  Et  predictus  Johannes  Carter  pro  se  heredibus  exe- 
cutoribus et  assignatis  suis  convenit  et  concedit  ad  et  cum  nobis 
heredibus  et  successoribus  nostris  per  presentes  quod  ipse  predictus 
Johannes  executores  et  assignati  sui  infra  spacium  trium  annorum 
proxime  sequentium  post  datam  harum  litterarum  nostrarum  Patentium 
et  sic  deinceps  quolibet  septimo  anno  durante  termino  predicto  facient 
seu  fieri  causabunt  unum  particularem  schedulam  sive  rentale  vel 
particulare  omnium  reddituum  et  proficuorum  premissorum  predictum 
continens  tarn  nomina  et  loca  habitacionum  omnium  et  quarum 
cunque  personarum  inhabitancium  infra  hundredum  predictum  de 
quibus  predicti  redditus  et  certitudines  cum  ceteris  premissis  predictis 
sive  aliqua  inde  parcella  tempore  confeccionis  dicti  particularis  schedule 
sive  rentalis  sunt  vel  erint  solubilia  et  solvenda  quam  separalium 
villarum  et  hamlettorum  de  et  pro  quibus  predicti  redditus  et  certi- 
tudines et  cetera  premissa  et  unumquemque  dictarum  personarum  et 
inhabitancium  ut  profertur  respective  tune  erint  solubilia  et  eandem 
particularem  schedulam  sive  rentale  plane  et  distincte  factam  et  in 
pergameno  redactam  ac  manu  dicti  Johannis  Carter  executorum  vel 


assignatorum  suorum  signatam  et  subscriptam  in  officium  Clerico  Pipe 
quolibet  septimo  anno  ut  supradicitur  durante  predicto  termino  de- 
liberabunt  ibidem  de  Recordo  remansuram  quo  melius  et  citius  officiarii 
nostri  heredum  et  successorum  nostrorum  post  expiracionem  dicti 
termini  eosdem  annuales  redditus  et  incrementum  redditus  et  quamlibet 
inde  parcellam  ad  usum  nostrum  heredum  et  successorum  nostrorum 
colligere  et  recipere  possint  et  valeant  Proviso  semper  quod  si  con- 
tingent predictum  annualem  redditum  triginta  unius  solidorum  et  octo 
denariorum  vel  predictum  incrementum  redditus  viginti  solidorum 
aretro  fore  non  solutum  in  parte  vel  in  toto  per  spacium  quadraginta 
dierum  post  aliquod  festum  festorum  predictorum  quout  prefertur  solvi 
debeat,  Aut  si  predictus  Johannes  Carter  executores  vel  assignati  sui 
non  irrotulabunt  seu  irrotulari  causabunt  has  litteras  nostras  Patentes 
coram  Clerico  Pipe  vel  deputato  suo  sufficiente  pro  tempore  existente 
infra  spacium  sex  mensium  proxime  sequentium  post  datam  eorundem 
quod  tune  et  deinceps  hec  presens  dimissio  vel  concessio  nostra  vacua 
sit  ac  pro  nullo  habeatur  aliquo  in  presentibus  in  contrarium  inde  non 
obstante  aliquo  Statute  etc.  In  cujus  etc. 


[Endorsed]  Teste,  etc.  apud  Westmonasterium  duo- 
decimo die  Maii  anno  regis  regni  Caroli 
Secundi  quarto-decimo.  xiiii. 

No.   II 
Charles  II.'s  Lease  to  Thomas  Dod,  1679 

(PIPE  OFFICE,  CROWN  LEASES,  No.  3261.) 

Comitatus  Cestrie.  REX  omnibus  ad  quos  etc.  salutem.  Cum  nos  per 
Dimissio  facta  litteras  nostras  Patentes  confectas  gerentes  datam 
Thome  Dod  de  duodecimo  die  Maii  anno  Regni  nostri  decimo  quarto 

1 88  APPENDIX   II 

Hundredo  de  pro  consideracione  in  eisdem  expressa  Tradiderimus 
Wirehall  cum  concesserimuset  adfirmamdimiserimuscuidam  Johanni 
pertinenciis  pro  Carter  generoso  totum  illud  Hundredum  nostrum  de 
termino  triginta  et  Wirehall  {etc.  as  in  Carter's  leased]  Excepto  prout  per 
unius  annorum  a  easdem  litteras  nostras  patentes  exceptum  existit 
festo  Annuncia-  Habendum  tenendum  et  gaudendum  Hundredum  pre- 
tionis  beate  Marie  dictum  ac  cetera  premissa  prefato  Johanni  Carter 
Virginis  1679.  executoribus  et  assignatis  suis  a  festo  Annuncia- 
Reddendo  per  tionis  beate  Marie  Virginis  tune  ultimo  preterite 
annum  quinqua-  usque  ad  finem  termini  et  per  terminum  viginti  et 
ginta  unum  soli-  unius  annorum  extunc  proximo  sequentium  et  plenarie 
dos  et  octo  de-  complendorum  sub  annuali  redditu  triginta  unius  soli- 
narios.  dorum  octo  denariorum  necnon  viginti  solidos  ultro  de 

incremento  prout  per  easdem  Literas  nostras  Patentes, 
relacione  adinde  habita,  plenius  apparet,  Quas  quidem  Litteras  nostras 
Patentes  ac  cetera  premissa  superius  mencionata  cum  pertinenciis 
ad1  tota  jus  statum  titulum  interesse  et  terminum  annorum  adhuc 
venturorum  de  et  in  premissis  predictis  prerecitata  dilectus  subditus 
noster  Randulphus  Dod  armiger  per  debitam  juris  formam  ac  suffi- 
cientern  conveianciam  in  lege  modo  habens  et  gaudens  nobis  sursum- 
reddidit  et  restituit  cancellanda  ea  tamen  intentione  quod  Nos  has 
Litteras  nostras  Patentes  et  aliam  dimissionem  nostram  de  premissis 
in  forma  sequenti  facere  et  concedere  dignaremur,  Quamquidem 
sursum  redditionem  acceptamus  et  allocamus  per  presentes.  Sciatis 
igitur  quod  Nos  tarn  pro  et  in  consideracione  sursum-redditionis  pre- 
dicte  quam  ex  gratia  nostra  speciali  certa  scientia  et  mero  motu  nostris 
Ac  pro  diversis  aliis  bonis  causis  et  considerationibus  nos  ad  presens 
moventibus  de  avisamento  dilecti  et  fidelis  consanguinei  et  consiliarii 
nostri  Arthuri  Comitis  Essex  Ac  etiam  dilectorum  et  fidelium  Lawrencii 
Hyde  armigeri,  Johannis  Ernie  militis  consiliarii  nostri  ac  Cancellarii  et 
subthesaurarii  Curie  Scaccarii  nostri,  Edwardi  Deering  Barroneti  et 
Sydnei  Godolphin  armigeri  Commissionariorum  Thesaurarii  nostri 
Tradidimus,  concessimus  et  ad  firmam  dimisimus  ac  per  presentes  pro 

1  Error  for  ac. 


nobis  heredibus  et  successoribus  nostris  tradimus  concedimus  et  ad 
firmam  dimittimus  prefato  Thome  Dod  generoso  totum  illud  predictum 
Hundredum  nostrum  de  Wirehall  [etc.  as  in  Carter  s  lease}.  Exceptis 
tamen  semper  et  Nobis  heredibus  et  successoribus  nostris  omnino 
reservatis,  [etc.  as  in  Carter  s  lease]  Habendum  tenendum  et  gaudendum 
Hundredum  predictum  ac  cetera  premissa  superius  per  presentes 
dimissa  seu  dimitti  mencionata  cum  eorum  juribus  membris  libertatibus 
et  pertinenciis  universis  (exceptis  preexceptis)  prefato  Thome  Dod 
generoso  executoribus  et  assignatis  suis  a  festo  Annunciationis  beate 
Marie  Virginis  ultimo  preterito  ante  datam  harum  literarum  nostrarum 
Patentium  usque  ad  finem  termini  et  per  terminum  triginti  et  unius 
annorum  extunc  proximo  sequentium  et  plenarie  complendorum. 
Reddendo  inde  annuatim  Nobis  heredibus  et  successoribus  nostris 
triginta  unum  solidos  et  octo  denarios  legalis  moneti  Anglic  necnon 
viginti  solidos  comsimilis  monete  Anglic  prout  antea  responsum  in  toto 
quinquaginta  unum  solidos  et  octo  denarios  per  annum  ad  Receptam 
Scaccarii  nostri  heredum  et  successorum  nostrorum  Westmonasterii 
seu  ad  manum  vicecomitis  Comitatus  predicti  ad  festa  sancti  Michaelis 
Archangeli  et  Annunciationis  beate  Marie  Virginis  per  equales  porciones 
solvendos  durante  termino  predicto  Et  predictus  Thomas  Dod  pro  se 
heredibus  executoribus  et  assignatis  suis  convenit  et  concedit  [etc.  as 
in  Carter's  lease}.  Proviso  semper  quod  et  contigerit  [etc.  as  in  Carter's 
lease}.  In  cujus  rei  etc. 

(Signed)    L.  HYDE. 

Examinatur  per  Ro.  Croke  Clericum  Pipe. 

[Endorsed]  Teste  etc.  vicesimo  quinto  die  Novembris 
Anno  Regni  Regis  Caroli  secundi 
Tricesimo  primo.  mdclxxix. 

190  APPENDIX    II 

No.  12 
Queen  Anne's  Lease  to  John  Scorer,  1704 

(PIPE  OFFICE,  CROWN  LEASES,  No.  3801.) 

Cestria.  Dimissio  REGINA  omnibus  ad  quos  etc.  salutem.  Sciatis  quod 
facta  Johanni  nos  tarn  pro  et  in  consideracione  reddituum  et  conven- 
Scorer  generoso  cionum  inferius  mencionatorum  et  expressorum  ex 
in  fiducia  pro  parte  dilecti  subditi  nostri  Johannis  Scorer  generosi 
Johanne  Glegg  executorum  et  assignatorum  suorum  reddendorum  et 
filio  Edwardi  performandorum  quam  per  avisamentum  predilecti  et 
Glegg  de  Hun-  perquamfidelis  Consiliarii  nostri  Sidney  Domini  Godol- 
dredo  de  Wirehall  phin  summi  Thesaurarii  nostri  Anglic  ac  dilecti  et 
cumpertinentiisin  fidelis  Consiliarii  nostri  Henrici  Boyle  armigeri  Can- 
comitatu  predicto  cellarii  et  Subthesaurarii  Curie  Scaccarii  nostri  Tradi- 
habendum  a  festo  dimus  concessimus  et  ad  firmam  dimisimus  ac  per 
Annunciacionis  presentes  pro  nobis  heredibus  et  successoribus  nostris 
beate  Marie  Vir-  tradimus  concedimus  et  ad  firmam  dimittimus  prefato 
ginis  1710  pro  Johanni  Scorer  (in  fiducia  pro  Johanne  Glegg  filio 
termino  xxv  an-  Edwardi  Glegg  generosi  executoribus  et  assignatis 
norum  reddendo  suis)  totum  illud  Hundredum  de  Wirehall  \etc.  as  in 
per  annum  Lf  last  lease]  Exceptis  tamen  semper  [etc.  as  before]  Que 
Viijd.  premissa  superius  dimissa  sic  dimissa  fuerunt  Thome 

Dod  generoso  per  literas  patentes  Domini  nuper  Regis 
Caroli  Secundi  [reciting  them']  Habendum  tenendum  et  gaudendum 
predictum  Hundredum  de  Wirehall  cum  pertinentiis  quibuscunque  ac 
cetera  omnia  et  singula  premissa  superius  dimissa  seu  dimitti  mencionata 
cum  eorum  pertinentiis  universis  (exceptis  preexceptis)  prefato  Johanni 
Scorer  executoribus  administratoribus  et  assignatis  suis  (in  fiducia  pro 
dicto  Johanne  Glegg  filio  Edwardi  Glegg  executoribus  et  assignatis 
suis)  a  festo  Annunciationis  beate  Marie  Virginis  quod  erit  in  anno 
Domini  millesimo  septingentesimo  decimo  (quo  tempore  terminus  in 
dictis  leteris  [sic]  patentibus  superius  recitatus  vel  mencionatus  ex- 
piraturus  est)  usque  ad  finem  termini  et  pro  et  durante  termino  viginti  et 
quinque  annorum  extunc  proxime  sequentium  et  plenarie  complendorum 


et  finiendorum.  Reddendo  et  solvendo  inde  annuatim  nobis  heredibus 
et  successoribus  nostris  annualem  redditum  sive  summam  quinquaginta 
et  unius  solidorum  et  octo  denariorum  legalis  monete  Anglie  ad  receptam 
Scaccarii  nostri  heredum  et  successorum  nostrorum  Westmonasterii  seu 
ad  manum  receptoris  nostri  premissorum  pro  tempore  existentis  ad 
festa  sancti  Michaelis  Archangel!  et  Annunciationis  beate  Marie 
Virginis  per  equales  porciones  durante  toto  termino  superius  concesso 
Ac  predictus  Johannes  Scorer  pro  se  heredibus  executoribus  admini- 
stratoribus  et  assignatis  suis  convenit  et  concedit  [etc.  as  before]. 

Quodque  si  aliquo  tempore  imposterum  durante  residue  termini 
adhuc  venturi  in  dictis  leteris  \sic\  patentibus  domini  nuper  Regis 
Caroli  secundi  superius  mencionati  apparebit  quod  aliquis  alius  vel 
aliqui  alii  (preter  prefatus  Johannes  [stc]  Scorer  prout  executorem 
ultimi  voluntatis  et  testamenti  Edwardi  Glegg  superius  nominati)  habe 
vel  habent  aliquod  ius  sive  titulum  ad  medietatem  seu  aliam  partem 
premissorum  virtute  alicujus  assignacionis  sub  dictis  literis  patentibus 
superius  mencionatis  quod  tune  prefatus  Johannes  Scorer  executores 
administratores  vel  assignati  sui  super  demanda  assignabit  vel  assig- 
nabunt  tali  persone  sive  personis  similem  partem  premissorum  pro 
termino  superius  per  presentes  concesso  tali  persona  sive  personis 
solventibus  ratam  et  proportionem  suam  feodorum  et  expensarum  per 
prefatam  Johannem  Scorer  erogatorum  et  expenditorum  in  obtencione 
harum  literarum  nostrarum  patentium  et  proporcionem  suam  redditus 
superius  reservati  et  performando  convenciones  in  eisdem  contentas 
Proviso  tamen  semper  quod  si  contigerit  [etc.]  In  cujus  rei  etc. 



Examinatur  per  Antonium  Anderson  Clericum  Pipe  deputatum. 
John  Scorer — transcriptum. 

[Endorsed]  Teste  summo  Thesaurario  Anglie  apud 
Westmonasterium  duodecimo  die 
Decembris  anno  regni  Regine  Anne 
tertio.  1704. 


No.  13 
George  II.'s  Lease  to  John  Glegg,  1734 

(PIPE  OFFICE,  CROWN  LEASES,  No.  4373.) 

County  Palatine  THE  King  to  all  to  whom  etc.  Greeting.  Know  yee 
of  Chester.  A  that  wee  as  well  for  and  in  Consideration  of  the  yearly 
demise  to  John  rent  in  and  by  these  presents  reserved  and  of  the  pro- 
Glegg  Esquire  of  viso's  and  agreements  herein  conteyned,  As  also  by  and 
the  Custody  of  with  the  advice  of  our  Right  trusty  and  well  beloved 
the  Hundred  of  Councellor  Sir  Robert  Walpole  Knight  of  the  most 
Wirehall  in  the  noble  order  of  the  Garter  first  Commissioner  of  our 
said  County  and  Treasury  of  Great  Britain  and  Chancellor  and  under 
of  the  Courts  and  Treasurer  of  our  Exchequer  and  of  our  trusty  and  well 
other  perquisites  beloved  George  Dodington  Esquire  Sir  George  Oxenden 
there  To  hold  Baronet  William  Clayton  Esquire  and  Sir  William 
from  Lady  Day  Yonge  Knight  of  the  Bath  and  Baronet  Comissioners 
one  thousand  of  our  said  Treasury  Have  Demised  Granted  and  to 
seven  hundred  farm  letten  and  by  these  presents  for  our  Self  our  heirs 
and  thirty  five  for  and  successors  Do  Demise  Grant  and  to  farm  lett  unto 
twenty  nine  years  John  Gegg  [sic]  Esquire  The  farm  or  Custody  of  all 
at  the  yearly  rent  that  our  hundred  of  Wirehall  with  its  rights  members 
of  fifty  one  shil-  and  appurtenances  whatsoever  in  our  County  Palatine 
lings  and  eight  of  Chester  and  all  those  Certainties  or  certain  yearly 
pence.  rents  to  the  said  Hundred  or  to  us  in  right  of  the  said 

Hundred  payable  belonging  or  apperteyning  And  also 
all  and  all  manner  of  Courts  Leet  Views  of  Frank  pledge  together  with 
the  perquisites  and  profits  of  the  same  And  also  all  fines  and  amercia- 
ments  made  sett  or  imposed  in  the  Courts  of  Sheriffs  Turn  and  Hundred 
Court  within  the  said  Hundred  and  suit  to  the  said  Court  or  Courts 
And  also  all  Releifs  Eschaeats  Law  Dayes  Courts  Assises  of  Bread  and 
Wine  Beer  and  Ale  Waifes  Estrays  Goods  and  Chattels  of  Felons  and 
Fugitives  Felons  of  themselves  persons  put  or  to  be  put  in  exigent  and 
of  persons  Condemned  or  Outlawed  Tolls  Customs  Deodands  Rights 
Jurisdictions priviledgesprofittsComodities  Advantages  and  Emoluments 


whatsoever  to  the  said  Hundred  belonging  or  in  any  wise  apperteyn- 
ing  Excepting  nevertheless  and  always  reserving  to  us  our  heirs  and 
successors  out  of  this  our  present  Grant  and  Demise  all  Fines  Issues 
and  Amerciaments  yearly  and  from  time  to  time  arising  growing  or 
renewing  in  any  of  our  Court  or  Courts  of  Record  (other  than  and 
beside  the  said  Hundred  Court)  or  before  our  Justices  at  the  Assises 
Justices  of  the  Peace  or  Clerk  of  the  Market  or  any  of  them  for  the 
time  being  together  with  full  and  free  liberty  power  and  authority  by 
our  Officers  or  servants  of  leving  and  collecting  all  and  every  the  said 
Fines  Issues  and  Amerciaments  from  time  to  time  within  the  Hundred 
aforesaid  Which  said  Hundred  and  premisses  hereby  demised  were  lately 
demised  to  Peter  Storer  [sic]  gentleman  in  trust  for  the  said  John  Glegg 
his  Executors  and  assignes  by  Letters  Patent  of  her  late  Majesty  Queen 
Anne  under  the  Seal  of  her  Exchequer  bearing  Date  at  Westminster 
the  twelfth  day  of  December  in  the  third  year  of  her  reigne  To  Hold 
(except  as  in  the  said  Letters  Patent  were  excepted)  to  the  said  Peter 
Storer  his  Executors  Administrators  and  assignes  in  trust  as  aforesaid 
from  the  Feast  of  the  Anunciation  of  the  Blessed  Virgin  Mary  in  the 
year  of  our  Lord  one  thousand  seven  hundred  and  ten  for  the  term  of 
twenty  five  years  from  thence  next  following  and  fully  to  be  compleat 
and  ended  at  and  under  the  yearly  rent  of  fifty  one  shillings  and 
eightpence  as  in  and  by  the  said  Letters  Patent  or  the  Inrollment 
thereof  may  more  fully  and  at  large  appear  To  have  hold  and  enjoy 
the  said  Hundred  of  Wirehall  and  all  and  singular  the  premisses  in  and 
by  these  presents  granted  and  Demised  or  meant  mentioned  or  in- 
tended to  be  granted  and  Demised  with  their  and  every  of  their  Rights 
members  and  appurtenances  whatsoever  (except  as  herein  is  before 
excepted)  unto  the  said  John  Glegg  his  Executors  Administrators 
and  assignes  for  during  and  untill  the  full  end  Term  and  Time  of 
twenty  nine  years  to  Comence  and  be  computed  from  the  twenty  fifth 
day  of  March  which  will  be  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  one  thousand  seven 
hundred  and  thirty  five  (at  which  time  the  said  Term  of  twenty  five 
years  granted  to  the  said  Peter  Storer  in  trust  as  aforesaid  will  end 
and  expire)  and  from  thence  forth  next  following  and  fully  to  be  com- 
pleat and  ended  Rendering  and  paying  therefore  yearly  to  us  our  heirs 



and  successors  the  yearly  rent  or  sum  of  Fifty  one  shillings  and  eight 
pence  of  lawfull  money  of  Great  Britain  as  hath  been  heretofore  re- 
served and  paid  for  and  out  of  the  said  premisses  the  said  rent  to  be 
paid  at  the  Receipt  of  our  Exchequer  at  Westminster  or  to  the  handes 
of  our  Receiver  of  the  said  premisses  for  the  time  being  at  or  upon  the 
Feasts  or  Feast  days  of  Saint  Michael  the  Archangel  and  the  Anuncia- 
tion  of  the  Blessed  Virgin  Mary  in  every  year  by  even  and  equall  half 
yearly  portions  or  payments  during  the  said  whole  term  of  twenty  nine 
years  in  and  by  these  presents  granted  as  aforesaid  the  first  payment 
thereof  to  begin  and  be  made  at  or  upon  the  said  Feast  of  Saint 
[Michael]  the  Archangel  in  the  said  year  One  thousand  seven  hundred 
and  thirty  five  And  the  said  John  Glegg  for  himself  his  Heirs  Executors 
Administrators  and  Assignes  Doth  Covenant  promise  grant  and  agree 
to  and  with  us  our  heirs  and  successors  by  these  presents  that  he  they 
or  some  or  one  of  them  within  the  space  of  three  years  next  after  the 
commencement  of  the  said  Term  hereby  granted  and  so  afterwards  in 
every  seventh  year  during  the  said  whole  Term  shall  and  will  make  and 
deliver  or  cause  and  procure  to  be  made  and  delivered  to  our  Auditor 
of  the  said  County  Palatine  of  Chester  or  his  sufficient  Deputy  for  the 
time  being  a  True  and  perfect  extract  Rentale  or  particular  of  all  the 
Rents  and  profits  of  the  said  Hundred  and  premisses  fairly  ingrossed 
in  Parchment  to  remain  for  our  future  Service  and  Benefit  Conteyning 
as  well  the  Names  of  all  the  several  towns  villages  and  hamletts  of  and 
within  the  Libertyes  and  Franchises  of  the  said  Hundred  as  the  names 
and  places  [of]  abode  of  all  the  severall  Tenants  Inhabitants  and  persons 
within  the  said  Hundred  by  or  from  whom  the  said  rents  and  profits 
and  every  of  them  are  may  or  shall  be  paid  or  shall  or  may  from  time 
to  time  severally  become  due  or  payable  to  the  said  John  Glegg  his 
executors  administrators  and  assignes  by  vertue  of  these  presents  or 
anything  herein  conteyned  Provided  always  that  all  and  every  assigne- 
ment  and  assignements  which  shall  or  may  at  any  time  hereafter  be 
made  of  these  our  Letters  Patent  or  of  the  said  premisses  herein  and 
hereby  granted  and  Demised  shall  be  inrolled  before  our  Auditor  of  the 
said  County  Palatine  of  Chester  for  the  time  being  within  the  space  of 
six  months  next  following  after  the  Date  of  every  such  assignment 


respectively  or  therewise  [stc]  for  want  or  on  default  of  such  Inrollment 
every  such  assignement  shall  be  void  or  of  no  effect  Provided  also  that 
if  the  said  yearly  Rent  or  Sum  of  fifty  one  shillings  and  eight  pence  in 
and  by  these  presents  reserved  as  aforesaid  or  any  part  thereof  shall 
happen  to  be  in  arrear  and  unpaid  by  and  During  the  Space  of  sixty 
Dayes  next  after  either  or  any  of  the  said  Feasts  or  Feast  Dayes  at  or 
upon  which  the  same  ought  to  be  paid  as  aforesaid  or  if  these  our  Letters 
Patent  shall  not  be  inrolled  before  our  said  Auditor  of  the  County 
aforesaid  and  a  minute  or  Docquett  thereof  entred  in  the  Office  of  our 
Surveyor  Generall  of  our  Land  Revenue  for  the  time  being  within  the 
Space  of  six  months  next  ensuing  the  date  of  these  presents  that  then 
and  from  thenceforth  in  any  such  case  respectively  or  on  any  such  Default 
this  our  present  Grant  and  Demise  shall  and  may  be  and  be  accounted 
null  void  and  of  no  force  or  effect  Any  thing  in  these  presents  Contained 
to  the  contrary  thereof  in  any  wise  notwithstanding.  In  witness  etc. 


Examined  by  Robt.  Gardner  Dep.  Clerke  of  the  Pipe. 

[Endorsed]  Witness  etc.  at  Westminster  the  third  day 
of  April  in  the  Vijth  year  of  the  reign 
of  King  George  the  second.  1734. 

No.   14 
George  II.'s  Lease  to  John  Glegg,  1759 

(PIPE  OFFICE,  CROWN  LEASES,  No.  5099.) 

County  Palatine  GEORGE  the  Second  by  the  Grace  of  God  of  Great 
of  Chester.  A  Britain  France  and  Ireland  King  Defender  of  the  faith 
Demise  to  John  and  so  forth  To  all  to  whom  these  our  Letters  Patent 
Glegg  Esquire  of  shall  come  Greeting  Know  ye  that  we  for  and  in 


all  that  Hundred  Consideration  of  the  Yearly  Rent  herein  after  reserved 
of  IVirehall  with  and  of  the  Covenants  Conditions  and  Agreements 
its  Rights  Mem-  herein  contained  And  also  by  and  with  the  Advice  of 
bers  and  Appur-  our  dearly  beloved  Cousin  and  Councellor  Thomas 
tenances  and  all  Holies  Duke  of  Newcastle,  Knight  of  the  most  noble 
yearly  Rents  to  Order  of  the  Garter,  and  first  Commissioner  of  our 
said  Hundred  be-  Treasury  of  Great  Britain,  and  of  our  trusty  and  well 
longing  and  other  beloved  Henry  Bilson  Legge  Esquire  Chancellor  and 
the  Premises  and  under  Treasurer  of  our  Exchequer,  Robert  Nugent 
Perquisites  there-  Esquire,  William  Earl  of  Besborough,  and  James 
unto  appertain-  Grenville  Esquire  Commissioners  of  our  said  Treasury 
ing  in  the  County  Have  Demised  Granted  and  to  Farm  letten  and  by 
aforesaid  To  these  presents  for  ourself  our  Heirs  and  Successors 
Hold  from  the  Do  Demise  Grant  and  to  Farm  let  unto  John  Glegg 
Fifth  Day  of  Esquire  All  that  Hundred  of  Wirehall  [etc.  as  in  last 
April  One  Thou-  lease]  Excepting  nevertheless  and  always  reserving 
sand  Seven  Hun-  [as  before'}  Which  said  Hundred  and  Premises  are 
dred  and  Sixty  Parcel  of  the  Possessions  of  the  Revenues  of  our 
Four  for  a  term  Crown  of  England  and  were  Demised  to  John  Glegg 
of  Twenty  five  Esquire  by  us  by  our  Letters  Patent  [reciting  the  last 
Years  at  the  lease~\  To  Have  Hold  and  enjoy  the  said  Hundred  and 
yearly  Rent  of  Premisses  above  mentioned  with  their  and  every  of 
£  s.  d.  their  Rights  Members  and  Appurtenances  whatsoever 
ij.  xj.  viij.  (Except  as  before  Excepted)  to  the  said  John  Glegg 
his  Executors  Administrators  and  Assigns  from  the 
Fifth  day  of  April  which  will  come  and  be  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  One 
Thousand  Seven  hundred  and  Sixty-four  (when  and  at  which  Time 
according  to  the  New  Style  or  Method  of  Computation  of  Time  now 
used  the  above  Recited  Term  of  Twenty  nine  years  will  end  and 
expire)  for  during  and  untill  the  full  end  and  Term  of  Twenty  five 
Years  from  thenceforth  next  ensuing  and  fully  to  be  compleat  and 
ended  Rendering  and  paying  therefore  Yearly  and  every  Year  to  us 
our  Heirs  and  Successors  for  and  out  of  the  said  Demised  Premises 
the  Yearly  Rent  or  Sum  of  Fifty  one  shillings  and  Eight  Pence  of  law- 
ful money  of  Great  Britain  [etc.  as  before]  And  the  said  John  Glegg  for 


himself  his  Heirs  Executors  Administrators  and  assigns  Doth  covenant 
Promises  grant  and  Agree  [to  deliver  a  Schedule,  etc.,  as  before  and\ 
that  he  the  said  John  Glegg  his  Executors  Administrators  or  Assigns 
at  the  end  or  other  Determination  of  the  said  Term  shall  and  will 
Peaceably  and  quietly  leave  surrender  and  yield  up  the  said  hereby 
demised  premises  to  us  our  Heirs  and  Successors.  [Proviso  for 
enrolment  and  in  default  of  payment  of  rent,  etc.,  as  before']  In  witness 
whereof  we  have  caused  these  our  Letters  to  be  made  Patent,  Witness 
our  above  named  right  trusty  and  well  beloved  Commissioners  of  our 
Treasury  aforesaid  at  Westminster  the  Thirtieth  Day  of  March  In  the 
Thirty  second  year  of  our  Reign  One  thousand  seven  hundred  and 

fifty  nine. 

H.  B.  LEGGE. 
To  pass  without  fine. 
Ed.  W.  Woodcock  deputy  Clerk  of  the  Pipe. 

[Endorsed]     County  Palatine  of  Chester. 

A  demise  to  John  Glegg  Esquire. 
Dated  3<Dth  March  1759. 

No.   15 
Assignment  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral  to  John  Glegg,  1768 


Assignment  from  INDENTURE  made  the  6th  August  1768  between 
Frances  Glegg  Frances  Glegg  of  Great  Neston  in  the  County  of  Cheshire 
widow  to  John  widow  and  relict  of  John  Glegg  late  of  Great  Neston 
Glegg  Esquire  of  Esquire  deceased  of  the  one  part  and  John  Glegg  of 
the  Hundred  of  Irby  in  the  said  County  Esquire,  son  and  heir  of  the 
Wirehall  with  the  said  John  Glegg  on  the  other  part  [Reciting  the  lease 
appurtenances.  0/1 759,  the  death  of  John  Glegg  and  probate  of  his 


will,  and  agreement  to  assign.  ASSIGNMENT  in  consideration 
of  i os.  of  All  the  Hundred  of  Wirehall  etc.  with  usual  Covenants 
and  indemnity], 



Signed,  sealed  and  delivered  in  the  presence  of : — 

Edward  Wrench. 
Sarah  Wrench. 
Inrolled  9th  November  1768. 

No.  16 
George  III.'s  Lease  to  John  Glegg,  1786 

(PIPE  OFFICE,  CROWN  LEASES,  No.  6012.) 

County  Palatine  GEORGE  the  Third  by  the  Grace  of  God  of  Great 
of  Chester.  A  Britain  France  and  Ireland  King  Defender  of  the  faith 
Demise  to  John  and  so  forth  To  all  to  whom  these  our  Letters  Patent 
Glegg  Esquire  of  shall  come  Greeting  Know  ye  that  we  for  and  in  con- 
the  Hundred  of  sideration  of  the  Yearly  Rent  hereinafter  reserved  and 
Wirehall  with  its  of  the  Covenants  Conditions  and  Agreements  herein 
rights,  members  contained  and  also  by  and  with  the  advice  of  our  right 
and  appurten-  trusty  and  well  beloved  William  Pitt  First  Commissioner 
ances  in  the  said  of  our  Treasury  of  Great  Britain  and  Chancellor  and 
County  Palatine  Undertreasurer  of  our  Exchequer  and  of  our  trusty 
To  hold  for  a  Re-  and  well  beloved  John  Buller  Senior  James  Graham 
versionary  Term  Esquire  (commonly  called  Marquis  of  Graham)  Edward 
of  27  years  Jrom  James  Eliot  and  John  Aubrey  Esquires  Commissioners 
the  $th  day  of  of  our  said  Treasury  Have  Demised  Granted  and  to 
April  1789  At  Farm  Letten  And  by  these  presents  for  Ourself  our 
the  yearly  rent  of  Heirs  and  Successors  Do  Demise  Grant  and  to  Farm 
£2,  us,  Sd.  To  Lett  unto  our  beloved  subject  John  Glegg  of  Neston  in 
pass  without  Fine,  our  County  of  Chester  Esquire  All  that  the  Hundred 
of  Wirehall  \etc.  From  this  point  onwards  this  Lease 
is,  mutatis  mutandis,  the  same  as  the  last.]  To  have  hold  and  enjoy 


the  said  Hundred  and  all  and  singular  other  the  premises  hereinbefore 
mentioned  to  be  hereby  demised  with  their  and  every  of  their  rights 
members  and  appurtenances  (except  as  hereinbefore  is  mentioned  to  be 
excepted)  unto  the  said  John  Glegg  his  Executors  Administrators  and 
Assigns  from  the  Fifth  day  of  April  which  will  be  in  the  year  of  our 
Lord  One  Thousand  seven  hundred  and  eighty  nine  (at  which  time  the 
said  term  of  Twenty  five  years  in  and  by  the  said  recited  Letters  Patent 
of  our  said  late  royal  Progenitor  Granted  of  and  in  the  same  premises 
will  end  and  expire)  for  and  during  and  unto  the  full  End  and  Term  of 
Twenty  seven  years  in  reversion  from  thenceforth  next  ensuing  and  fully 
to  be  complete  and  ended  Rendering  and  paying  therefore  [£2,  us.  8d. 
etc.  as  before.]  And  the  said  John  Glegg  for  himself  his  heirs  Exe- 
cutors and  Administrators  doth  covenant  [etc.  with  the  same  clauses  as 
before^  In  Witness  whereof  We  have  caused  these  our  Letters  to  be 
made  patent.  Witness  our  above  named  right  trusty  and  well  beloved 
Commissioners  of  our  Treasury  aforesaid  at  Westminster  the  eighth  day 
of  April  in  the  Twenty  sixth  year  of  our  Reign  One  thousand  seven 
hundred  and  eighty  six. 

W.  PITT. 

ED.  J.  ELIOT. 


No.  17 

The  Crown  Grant  of  the  Hundred  of  Wirral  to  John 
Williams,  1820 


By  the  Commissioners  of  His  Majesty's  Woods,  Forests  and  Land 

THESE  are  to  certify  that  in  pursuance  of  a  Warrant  from  the  Right 
Honourable  the  Commissioners  of  His  Majesty's  Treasury  of  the  United 
Kingdom  of  Great  Britain  and  Ireland,  bearing  date  the  8th.  day  of 
February  1820,  William  Dacres  Adams  and  Henry  Dawkins  Esqrs., 
two  of  the  Commissioners  of  His  Majesty's  Woods  Forests  and  Land 
Revenues  for  and  on  behalf  of  the  King's  Most  Excellent  Majesty,  have 


contracted  and  agreed  with  John  Williams  of  Liverpool  in  the  County 
of  Lancaster  Esquire,  for  the  sale  to  the  said  John  Williams  of  ALL  that 
the  Hundred  of  Wirehall  with  its  rights  members  and  appurtenances 
whatsoever,  in  the  County  Palatine  of  Chester  and  all  those  certainties 
or  certain  yearly  rents  to  the  said  Hundred,  or  to  His  Majesty  in  right 
of  the  said  Hundred,  belonging  or  appertaining;  And  also  all  and  all 
manner  of  Courts  Leet,  Views  of  Frankplege,  together  with  the  per- 
quisites and  profits  of  the  same ;  And  also  all  fines  or  amerciaments 
made  set  or  imposed  in  the  Courts  of  Sheriffs  Turn  and  Hundred 
Court  within  the  said  Hundred,  and  Suit  to  the  said  Court  or  Courts, 
and  also  all  reliefs,  escheats,  law  days,  Courts,  Assizes  of  Bread  and 
Wine  Beer  and  Ale,  Treasure  Trove,  Waifs,  Wrecks,  Estrays,  Goods 
and  Chattels  of  Felons,  Fugitives,  Felons  of  themselves,  persons  put 
or  about  to  be  put  in  exigent,  and  of  persons  condemned  or  outlawed, 
Tolls,  Customs,  Deodands,  Royal  Fish,  Rights,  Jurisdictions,  Privileges, 
Profits,  Commodities,  Advantages  and  Emoluments  whatsoever,  to  the 
said  Hundred  belonging,  or  in  any  wise  appertaining  And  the  reversion 
and  reversions,  remainder  and  remainders,  of  all  and  singular  the  said 
premises  and  every  part  and  parcel  thereof,  (a)  Excepting  nevertheless 
and  always  reserving  to  His  Majesty  his  heirs  and  Successors  all  Fines 
Issues  and  Amerciaments  yearly  and  from  time  to  time  arising  growing 
or  renewing  in  any  Court  or  Courts  of  Record  (other  than  and  beside 
the  said  Hundred  Court)  or  before  the  Justices  at  the  Assizes  Justices 
of  the  Peace  or  Clerk  of  the  Market  or  any  of  them  for  the  time  being 
together  with  full  and  free  liberty  power  and  authority  by  His  Majesty's 
Officers  or  servants  of  levying  and  collecting  all  and  every  the  said 
Fines  Issues  and  Amerciaments  from  time  to  time  within  the  Hundred 
aforesaid  (b)  Which  said  Hundred  and  premises  are  parts  of  the  posses- 
sions and  land  revenues  of  or  belonging  to  the  Crown  within  the  survey 
of  the  Exchequer  in  England,  and  were  last  demised  by  His  late 
Majesty  King  George  III.  by  letters  patent  under  the  Seal  of  the  Court 
of  Exchequer  bearing  date  the  8th.  day  of  April  1786.  to  John  Glegg 
of  Neston  in  the  County  of  Chester,  Esquire,  to  hold,  except  as  therein 
was  excepted,  for  a  then  reversionary  term  of  twenty-seven  years  from 
the  5th.  April  1789  at  a  yearly  or  annual  rent  (c)  of  Two  pounds  eleven 


shillings  and  eight  pence  (d]  payable  as  therein  mentioned,  which  term 
expired  on  or  about  the  5th.  day  of  April  1816,  at  or  for  the  price  or 
survey  of  Two  hundred  and  thirty  (e)  pounds  of  lawful  money  of  Great 
Britain  to  be  paid  by  the  said  John  Williams  into  the  Bank  of  England, 
and  carried  to  the  account  of  the  Commissioners  of  His  Majesty's 
Treasury,  and  from  and  immediately  after  the  payment  of  the  said  sum 
in  manner  aforesaid  and  the  enrolment  of  this  Certificate  and  the 
receipt  for  the  said  purchase  money  in  the  Office  of  the  Auditor  of  the 
Land  Revenue  for  the  County  aforesaid,  and  thenceforth  for  ever  the 
said  John  Williams  and  his  heirs  and  assigns  shall  be  judged  deemed 
and  taken  to  be  in  the  actual  seisin  and  possession  of  the  said  premises 
so  by  him  purchased  and  shall  hold  and  enjoy  the  same  peaceably  and 
quietly  and  in  as  full  and  ample  a  manner  to  all  intents  and  purposes 
as  His  Majesty,  his  heirs  and  successors  might  or  could  have  held  or 
enjoyed  the  same,  (excepting  as  hereinbefore  is  excepted).  By  force 
and  virtue  of  An  Act  of  Parliament  passed  in  the  56th.  year  of  the 
reign  of  His  Majesty  King  George  the  Third  (Cap.  115)  intituled 
An  Act  for  ratifying  the  purchase  of  the  Claremont  Estate,  and 
for  settling  the  same  as  a  Residence  of  Her  Royal  Highness 
the  Princess  Charlotte  Augusta,  and  His  Serene  Highness  Leopold 
George  Frederick  Prince  of  Cobourg  of  Saalfield.  Given  under  the 
hands  of  the  said  Commissioners  of  His  Majesty's  Woods  Forests  and 
Land  Revenues,  the  8th.  day  of  April  1820. 


Two  of  the  Commissioners  of  His  Majesty's 
Woods,  Forests,  and  Land  Revenues. 

Witness  to  the  signing  by  the  above  named 
William  Dacres  Adams  and  Henry  Dawkins. 


Secretary  in  the  Land  Revenue  Department. 

(a)  The  words  from  (a)  to  (6)  and  from  (c)  to  (d)  are  omitted  from  the  copy  in 
Mortimer's  "History  of  Wirral." 
(e)  .£500  in  Mortimer. 


Received  the  8th.  day  of  April  1820  of  and  from  the  above  named 
John  Williams  the  sum  of  Two  hundred  and  thirty  pounds  of  lawful 
money  of  Great  Britain  being  the  consideration  money  expressed  in 
the  above  written  certificate. 

Witness  my  hand 

For  the  Governor  and  Company  of  the  Bank  of  England, 

T.  TRIQUET,  Cashier. 
£230.  o.  o. 

Inrolled  the  loth,  day  of  April  1820. 



ADAM,  Henry,  166 

Adams,  William  Dacres,  199,  201 

Albany,  Duchess  of,  91  n 

Alcock,  Elizabeth,  156 

Aleyn,  William,  169 

Almore,  Richard,  167 

Anderson,  Antony,  191 

Arrow,  78 

Ashfield  House,  82 

Ashley,  Lord,  185,  187 

Aubrey,  John,  198,  199 

BACKFORD,  57,  63  «,  65,  77,  167 
Bacon,  V.-C.,  158 
Bailey,  Mr.  Justice,  97 
Bampton,  46 
Barker,  John  le,  56,  165 
Barton,  Richard,  137  n 
Bates,  Sir  P.  E.,  127 
Baumvill,  Robert,  42,  45,  165 
Bebington,  93,  96,  103,  113,  114 

Higher,  78 

Nether,  13,  141 

James,  65,  66,  68,  171,  172,  179 

John  de,  45  n 

Richard,  65,  171 

Robert  de,  40 

William,  167 

Bebynton  (see  Bebington) 
Beckett,  Capt,  125  «,  132  n 
Bell,  154 

Bell,  Agnes,  108 

Benet,  John,  166 

Benton,  Richard  de,  165 

Berch,  William  le,  31 

Bertles,  Thos.,  79 

Bessborough,  Earl  of,  196,  197 

Beston,  Hugh,  95 

Bird,  Henery,  79 

Birkenhead,  97,  102,  109,  112,  116,  118, 

119,  126,  127,  137  n 
Birkenhead  Advertiser,  146  n 
Birkenhead  and  Chester  Railway,  115 

Dock,  137  n 

Deborah,  77 

Edward,  77 

Frances,  77 

Prior  of,  n,  12,  94  » 

Ralph,  65 

Thomas,  77 

Birmingham,  Court  of,  85 
Black  Horse  Inn,  119 
Blacon,  94 
Bloreheath,  62 
Bolde,  Richd.,  57 

Thomas  de,  47  n 
Bowland,  John,  170 
Boyle,  Henry,  190,  191 
Brescy,  Roger  de,  41 
Bridge  Trafford,  70,  71,  181 
Brocklebank  (T.  &  J.),  121-3 
Bromborough,  21,  137  n 

Pool,  I37» 



Bromburgh,    William,  169  (see    Brum- 


Brome,  Roger,  166 
Broom,  Margaret,  41 

Roger  del,  42,  48,  165 

William  del,  40,  41,  164 
Broome,  Henry  del,  166 
Broun,  William  le,  164 
Broune,  Thomas,  56,  166 
Brown,  John,  120 

Broxton,  9,  46  n,  57,  65,  162,  164,  165 
Brumburgh,  Hugh  de,  53,  165,  177 

John,  62 

Brunswick  Road,  141 
Bruyn,  Henry  le,  41,  42,  43,  48,  164,  177 
Bryde,  Robert,  167,  168 
Bucklow,  46  n,  76  n,  82,95,  100  n,  161, 

162,  163,  165,  173 
Bulkyleigh,  Robert  de,  26 
Buller,  John,  sen.,  198 
Burghley,  Baron,  180 
Burton,  64,  I37« 
Bushell,  Christopher,  127-8,  130,  140 

CALDAY,  John,  169 

Caldy,  72  n,  76,  78,  134  n,  137 

Hundred  of,  134,  137  n 
Capenhurst,  78,  80,  165 
Capesthorne,  32  n 
Carnarvon  Castle,  39 
Carter,  John,  73,  74,  75,  173,  185 
Chaloner,  John  le,  166 

Richard  le,  167 
Charlotte,  Princess,  91,  201 
Chatterton,  Ellen   155 
Chauntrell,  William,  57 
Chester,  10,  46,  56, 137 

Abbot  of,  21,  46  (see  St.  Werburgh) 

Castle,  45,  46,  48,  62,  95 

Fair,  128 

Port  of,  45,  64 

Chesworth,  Mr.,  113 

Cholmondeley,  57 

Chorleton,  Henry  de,  39,  161,  162,  175, 


Church  of  Holy  Cross,  137 
Claremont,  90,  91,  201 
Clark,  Geo.,  senr.,  118 
Clarke,  Archdeacon,  96 
Clatterb ridge,  122-3,  I24 
Clayton,  William,  192,  195 
Clerc,  Robert  le,  45  n 
Clive,  Lord,  91  n 
Clyf,  Henry  del,  166 
Cobourg,  Prince  of,  91,  201 
Coghull,  Edmund  de,  40 
Coleridge,  Sir  J.  D.,  154 
Coly,  Henry,  37,  40,  42,  54, 162,  163,  165 

John,  45  n 

Richard,  54 

Thomas,  54,  165 
Commins,  Dr.,  145 
Congleton,  31  n 
Congreve,  W.  W.,  137  n 
Connah's  Quay,  137  n 
Conway,  45 

Cornifer,  Matthew  le,  56 
Croke,  Ro.,  189 
Cross,  Thomas,  126 
Cristelton,  Robert,  170 

DANSON,  John,  172 

Danyers,  Thomas,  175 

Davenport,  20,  32  n 

Dawkins,  Henry,  199,  201 

Deane,  Dr.,  154 

Dee,  i,  53,  64, 94,  95, 119, 132, 133, 137  «, 


Deering,  Sir  Ed.,  188,  189 
Delamere,  iqn,  56 
Denbigh,  52,  75 
Denfrencluyt,  52 



Denhall,  64 
Denwall,  John,  167 
Denys,  Thomas,  40,  165 
Derby,  Earl  of,  46 
Dieulacres,  13 
Dobbin,  Mr.,  115 
Dod,  Randle,  75,  173,  188 

Thomas,  75,  76,  173,  187,  189,  190 
Dodd,  Catherine,  159 
Dodington,  George,  192,  195 
Dokynton,  John  de,  48 
Doo,  Hugh,  167,  168 
Dunham,  14 
Dunham  Massy,  19  n 
Dutton,  William,  159 
Dyffryn-clwyd,  52 
Dykynson,  Henry,  167 

EASTHAM,  21,  57,  96,  132,  137  « 
Eddisbury,  27  n,  46 »,  60,  65,  95,  164, 

165,  166,  169,  172,  178  n 
Edge,  75 
Edmondson,  Whittaker,  117,  118,  131, 


Edward,  Earl  of  Chester,  1 1 
Edwards,  David,  89 
Egerton,  Sir  Philip,  103 
Egremont  Ferry,  137  n 
Eliot,  E.  J.,  198,  199 
Ernie,  Sir  J.,  188,  189 
Errington,  Richard,  137/2 
Essex,  Earl  of,  188 
Euyas,  Philip,  161 

FAIRRIE,  Wm.,  59,  167,  168 

Fernyhough,  118 

Field,  Thomas,  113,  116,  117 

Fisher,  Canon,  143,  144  «,  154,  155,  156 

Mr.,  115 
Fleet  Prison,  35,  36 

Fleetwood,  Rev.  Father,  147 

Flint,  35,  36,  52,  53,  57 

Fortescue,  Sir  John,  180 

Fox,  John,  167 

Foxwist,  Vivian,  40,  47  n,  55 

Fraunceys,  David,  69  n 

Fullerton,  Sir  Jas.,  71,  181, 182, 183,  184 

Furness,  45 

GAMLIN,  Mrs.,  98,  121 »,  123  n,  126  n 
Gardner,  Robert,  195 
Garner,  Mrs.  Ellen,  119 

Thomas,  118 

William,  97 

Gay  ton,  61,  66,  72  n,  76,  134,  179 
Gelibrande,  Thomas,  65,  171 
Gerard,  Wm.  Fitz,  14 
Glegg,  Anne,  76 

Betty,  82 

Birkenhead,  80  n,  83,  174 

Deborah,  77 

Edward,  76,  77,  173,  190,  191 

Frances,  77,  197,  198 

Gilbert,  45  «,  47  «,  54 

Jane,  76 

John,  62,  66,   76,  77,  78,  82,  135, 

173,  174,  179.  190,  I92»  193.  194, 
195,  196,  197,  198,  199,  200 
John  Baskervyle,  133,  I37« 
Thomas,  62,  65,  66 
Sir  William,  76 
William,  72  n,  77 
Glendower,  Owen,  52,  53 
Gloucester,  Duke  of,  46 
Godolphin,  Sidney,  188,  189,  190,  191 
Goodfellow,  John,  56,  165 
Goss,  Alex.  (Bishop),  138,  139,  144,  145, 

155,  I56« 
Grace,  Robert,  106-114,  125,  126,  131, 

132,  134,  153 
Graham,  Marquis  of,  198 



Greasby,  80  n 
Great  Crosshall  St.,  137 
Green  Lane,  115 
Green,  Margaret,  159 
Grenville,  James,  196,  197 
Grosvenor,  Robert  le,  43 
Guilden  Sutton,  9 
Guille,  Nich.,  184 

H  ALTON,  19  n 

Harbord,  Sir  Charles,  72 

Hare,  William,  56,  166 

Hargrave,  14 

Harper,  Richard  le,  166 

Harris,  Edward,  184 

Hatherton,  31 

Hawarden,  52 

Hayne,  John,  165 

Hazelwall,  53 

Hebson,  John,  168 

Hemlingford,  85,  101  n,  130  n 

Heswall,  53 

Hill,  153 

Elizabeth,  79 
Hinderton,  112,  114,  127 
Hobson,  John,  167 
Hodson,  Elliott,  120 
Hog,  John,  48 
Hogh,  Thos.  del,  45  «,  65 
Holden,  John  de,  45  n 

Thomas,  57,  166 
Hole,  Roger,  64,  170 
Holes,  Roger,  57 
Holme,  John  de,  165 
Holyhead,  45 
Hooton,  64,  78,  116,  117,  132,  137  n 

William  de,  41 
Hopedale,  52 

Hopkynsone,  Robert,  45  n 
Houghton,  James,  137  n 
Hoult,  Joseph,  125 

Hutton,  William,  85-87 
Hyde,  Lawrence,  188,  189 
Mr.,  79 

INDERWICK,  Mr.,  154 

Inglefield,  ion 

Irby,  21,76,  77,  Son,  197 

Ireland,  44,  45,  56 

Duke  of,  46 
Islington,  141,  145 

Ithell,  John  ap,  65,  66,  68,  171,  172,  173, 

JACSON,  Richard,  167 
Jankynson,  Thomas,  166 
Jevansone,  John,  57,  167 
John  Scot,  Earl  of  Chester,  1 1 
Jones,  Jane,  105 
Sarah,  105 

KARSLAKE,  Sir  John,  154 
Kelly,  Alex.,  125 
Kesty  (see  Knysty) 
Kingsley,  56 
Knowesley,  John  de,  167 
Knysty,  William,  62,  64,  170,  171 

LANCASTER,  Duchy  of,  153,  156,  157 

Henry  of,  47 
Landican,  78,  79 
Launcelyn,  Robert,  13,  14  n 

William,  14  n 
Leather,  Joseph,  157,  158 
Ledsham,  78,  79 

Henry,  167 
Lee,  Hamond  de,  168 

Jane,  159 

Thomas  del,  45  n,  165 



Legge,  H.  B.,  196,  197 
Leighton,  137  n,  167 
Lichfield,  Bishop  of,  13 
Liscard,  78,  80,  109,  120,  137  n 
Litherland,  Edmund,  63,  169 

Henry,  169 

John  de,  45  n,  47  n,  49,  53 
Liverpool,  45,  60,  92,  97,  100,  106,  108, 
114,  120,  121,  133,  137,  138,  141,  151, 
156,  157,  159,  200 
Liverpool  Chronicle,  126,  129  n 

Courier,  1337?,  138  «,  147,  153,  154 

Daily  Post,  13372 

Mercury,  88 
Low  Hill,  122 
Lytel,  John  de,  165 

MACCLESFIELD,  26,  32  n,  46  n,  ioo« 

serjeanty  of,  20 
Maddocks,  Benjamin,  105 
Main  waring,  C.  K.,  137^ 

Thomas  de,  54,  165 
Malpas,  20 

Manchester  Ship  Canal,  158 
Mara,  forest  of,  56 
March,  Earl  of,  45 
Martin,  Baron,  122 
Martyn,  William,  166 
Mascy  (see  Massy) 
Massey  (see  Massy) 
Massy,  Alice,  7 1 

Hamo  de,  14  «,  45>  47  «,  48,  53>  55 

Sir  John,  14^,41,42,45,  48 

Thomas,  62,  65 

William,  7 1 

Sir  William,  71,  72,  173 
Mather,  Miss,  97 
Maycok,  Thomas,  165 
Maykin,  William,  44 
Mayzowsone,  Thomas,  166 
M'Clelland,  Mrs.,  97 

M'Mahon,  James,  120 
Meoles,  Henry  del,  162 

John  del,  47  n,  53,  55 

William  de,  45  n,  163 
Mersey,  I,  94  n,  95,  119,  133,  158 

Dock  Board,  119 
Mill  Lane,  141 
Milles,  Wm.,  184 
Mobburley,  Philip,  168 

Richard,  169 

Robert,  168 

Molyneux,  Sir  Thomas,  46 
Molynton,  John  de,  44 
Monks  Ferry,  116 
Mondret,  10 
Montalt,  Robert  de,  15 
More,  Robert,  60,  169,  178 
Moreton,  42,  48 

James,  157,  158,  159,  174 

Mrs.,  108,  124,  125  n,   143,  144, 

Samuel  Holland,  106, 107, 108-119, 

122-156  passim,  174 
Mortimer,  Roger,  45 

Sir  Thomas,  46 
Mortimer's  History  of  Wirral,  92,  105, 

175,  201  n 

Moston,  Richard  de,  48 
Muir,  Prof.  Ramsay,  73  n 
Mulenex,  John,  79 

NANTWICH,  31,  43  n,  46  n,  164,  169, 


Natone,  Ja.,  184 
Naylor,  R.  C.,  1377* 
Ness,  78,  79 
Neston,  15,  64,  100,  104,  109,  117,  135, 

137  «i  138,  141.  15°.  *5*>  J98,  200 
Neston  (Great),  82,  99,  105,  109,  137  n, 

(Little),  14,  78,  79,  I37« 



Neuton,  William  de,  163 
Newcastle,  Duke  of,  196 
Northwich,  43  n,  46  n,  60,  165,  173 
Notes  and  Queries,  1 18  n 
Nugent,  Robert,  196,  197 

O'DOWD,  J.,  133-7 
Offlow,  1307* 

Oldefield,  Roger,  65,  170,  171 
Orleans,  91  n 
Ormeston,  William,  170 
Orred,  Major,  I37» 
Overpool,  137  n 
Oxenden,  Sir  George,  192 
Oxton,  122 

PARR,  65 

Partridge,  William,  24 

Peacock,  John,  93 #,  99,  100,  102,  104, 


Penzance,  Lord,  154,  155 
Percy,  Henry,  47 
Picton,  9 
Pied  Bull  Inn,  92 
Pillar,  James,  201 
Pitt,  William,  198,  199 
Poole,  13772,  1 66 
Poole  family,  62  (see  Pulle) 
Poole,  Thos.,  senr.,  65 
Potts  &  Co.,  91 
Poulton,  13,  78,  137  n 
Praunson,  John,  167 
Prenton,  78 
Prestlond,   Richard  de,  41,  42,  43,  44, 

164, 177 
Puddington,  41,  45,  48,  53,  62,  65,  71, 

78,  137  n 
Pugin,  137 

Pulle  family  (see  Poole) 
James  de,  47  »,  55 

Pulle,  Sir  John  de,  39,  45  «,  47  n,  49, 

53,  55 

Robert  de,  39,  161,  162 
Pulton,  William,  son  of  Thomas  de,  164 

RABY,  127 

Radcot  Bridge,  46 

Raket,  Ranulph,  161,  175,  176 

Randle,  Earl  of  Chester,  12,  14 

Meschines,  Earl  of  Chester,  13 
Ranford,  James,  79 

John, 79 

Rathbone,  John,  55,  165,  168 
Ravenscroft,  Henry  de,  54 
Rayner,  Joseph,  142 
Receiver  of  Wreck,  137 
Redhead,  Dr.,  93,  96,  98,  103,  104,  114 
Renton,  William  de,  163 
Rideresplace,  56 
Robison,  Joseph,  79 
Rock  Ferry,  93,  137  n 
Ross,  David,  126 
Rossendale,  118 
Russell,  Charles,  154 

ST.  WERBURGH,  Abbot  of,  n,  13,  21, 


Salghale  wood,  56 
Salwhall,  William,  168 
Saunders,  Greenaway,  126 
Saynesbury,  John  de,  53,  59,  165,  167, 
168,  177 

Thomas  de,  164 
Scorer,  Jane,  76 

John,  76,  77,  173.  i°o,  iQi 
Seacombe,  92,  137  n 
Secome,  Thos.  de,  167 
Sefton,  Earl  of,  88,  89 
Shotwick,  I37» 
Shrewsbury,  Earl  of,  122 




Sill,  Joseph,  120 
Smith,  Egerton,  88 

Richard,  137  n 

Thomas,  112-114,  IJ7 
Smyth,  John,  169 

Ralph,  1 68 

Richard  le,  45  n 
Southampton,  Earl  of,  185,  187 
Spencer,   Samuel,   105-107,  109,   140 «, 


Springfield,  142 

Stanay,  David  de,  40,  45  «,  163,  164 
Stanley,  21 

Sir  Thos.  (Lord),  60,  62,  63,  90,  169, 

Sir  William  de,  55 

William  de,  41,  43,  45  «,  47  «,  53, 
62,  64 

junior,  49 

Stanyer,  Charles,  159 
Starkey,  Geoffrey,  60,  169,  178 
Stoke,  40,  40  n 
Storeton,  21 
Strawsen,  Charles,  147 
Sutton,  Adam  de,  20 

Isabella,  i8» 

manor  of,  21 

Richard  de,  31 

Sir  Richard,  18  n 

of  Malpas,  20 
Swabey,  Dr.,  154 

Taillour,  Henry,  170,  171 
Tarvin,  32  n 
Taylor,  118 

Dr.  Stopford,  142,  155 
Thingwall,  8,  40 
Thorneton,  Robert  de,  167 
Thornton  Hough,  122,  141,  143,  151 
Thurstaston,  8,  76,  I37» 
Tildesleigh,  Thurstan  de,  161 

Tildesley,  John  de,  40,  47  n 
Tollemache,  Lord,  103 
Tommessone,  Alex.,  165 
Topplegh,  55 
Trafford,  9 

John,  66,  178 

Robert,  66,  69,  172,  178 

Thomas,  71 
junior,  71 

William,  70,  71, 73.  74,  i?3,  181 
Tranemoele,  Wm.  de,  45  n,  47  n 
Tranmere,  76,  78,  79,  80,  no,  in,  120, 

133,  137  » 

Castle  Hotel,  118,  120,  140 

Higher,  119 

Lower,  115 
Trevallin,  94 
Trevor,  Richard,  94 

Sir  Thos.,  71,  181-4 
Triquet,  T.,  202 
Troutbeck,  Sir  W.,  14 
Trull,  Roger,  45  »,  54,  165 
Turfmos,  Wm.,  45  n 
Tushingham,  55 
Twys,  Simon  del,  43 
Tyliat,  John,  170,  171 
Tyttelegh,  Nicholas  de,  41 

UPTON,  9 

VANBURGH,  Sir  John,  91 » 
Venables,  57 

Cuthbert,  68,  70,  73,  173,  179 

WALEY,  Henry,  57,  166,  167,  168 

John  de,  44 

Thomas  de,  43,  54,  165,  177 
Waleys,  Richard,  40 
Walker,  Benjamin,  101 »,  130  n 



Wallasey,  56,  57,  78,  79,  1377*,  165 
Walpole,  Sir  Robert,  192,  195 
Walter,  Sir  John,  71,  181-4 
Warburton,  Peter,  95 
Warewyk,  John  de,  45  n 
Warwick  Street,  141 
Wervin,  9 

West,  Mr.,  Q.C.,  154 
West  Derby,  88 

Kirby,  137/2 

Westminster,  Marquis  of,  137  n 
Whitby,  137  n 
Whitmore,  John  de,  47  n,  54 

William,  62 

Whitoff,  Thomas,  65,  170 
Whityngham,  Thomas,  169 
Wich  Malbank,  31 
Wickstead,  William,  184 
Wilaston  (see  Wilaveston) 
Wilaveston,  8,  9,  13/2,  15 
Wilbraham,  Richard,  172 
Wilbram,  Wm.  de,  45  «,  165 
Willaston,  9,  127 

William  Brown  Street,  138,  141,  151 
Williams,  John,  92-98,   103,    133,  134, 
174,  199,  200,  20 1,  202 

"  Roger,"  98,  103 

Samuel,  92,   97,  99,    100,  102-104, 

107,  174 
Wilson,  John,  72 

Robert,  121-3,  125 
Windle  Hill,  113 
Witlaf,  9 

Wolley,  Geoffrey,  169,  170 
Woodbank,  78,  79 
Woodcock,  E.  W.,  197 
Wood  Street,  122,  123 
Woodward,  James,  105 
Wrench,  Edward,  198 

Sarah,  198 
Wrexham,  56 
Wylaboy,  W.,   165 
Wyswale,  Robert  de,  166 

YONGE,  Sir  Wm.,  192 


AFFEEROR,  6,  112-3 

Aise  de  prisone,  34 

Ale-taster,  117,  118,  140 

Amercement,  5,  6,  13,  30,  37,  72,  175 

Approvers,  22,  24,  37,  39,  63,  161 

Array,  55,  65 

Assize  of  bread  and  ale,  5,  12,  30,  79, 

118,  180,  182,  185,  192,  200 
Attainder,  30,  96,  123 
Auditor,  72-3,  184 
Augmentation  Court,  68 
Office,  68 

BAIL,  34,  35,  36 
Bailiff,  23,  54,  69 

errant,  69  n 
Baronial  Serjeants,  21 
Bedell,  17-24,  26,  27,  31,  33,  37,  54,  69, 

161,  et  seq, 
Bedelry,  issues  of,  33,  175 

rents  of,  37,  38,  56,  161  et  seq. 

Caput  lupinum,  43 

Caveat,  146,  152 

Commissions  (Special),  40,  41,  45,  49, 

54,  59,  64,  65,  95 
Compensation,  claims  for,  131-2 
Compositions,  30 
Conservators  of  peace,  47,  53 
Contempt  of  Court,  in,  125,  126,  127 
Coroner,  31,  57,  96 
Court-house,  104,  122,  124,  125 
leet  (see  Leet) 

Court  roll,  78,  80 

Courts,  origin  of,  2  (see  Hundred  Court) 

County  Court,  3,  10,  13,  14,  15,  58,  176 

Acts,  103,  130 
Criminal  jurisdiction,  4,  5,  17,  31,  109 

DEODANDS,  32,  94  «,  180,  182,  185,  192, 


Dinners  at  court,  125 
Distringas,  101 
Domesday,  10,  12 

ECCLESIASTICS,  attendance  of,  1 1 
Ecclesiastical  suits,  1 1 
Encroachment,  5,  113,  115 
Enrolment    of   leases,  42,   53,  67  (see 

App.  II.) 
Escheator,  22,  57 
Escheats,   30,  48,    180,    182,    185,   192, 


Essoynes,  6,  72 

Estrays,  32,  44,  180,  182,  185,  192,  200 
Estreats,  63  n 

Exchequer  (Chester),  22,  41 
Execution,  102 
Eyre,  16,  57,  58 

FARMING,  laws  as  to,  25 

system  of,  22-26,  175 
Fees,  36,  60,  72,  101,  119 
Felons'  goods,  30,  43,  56,  98,  122,  123 
180,  182,  185,  192,  200  (see  Waifs) 



Field-ale,  27  n 

Filctale,  27  n 

Fir  ma  unius  noctis,  1 9  n 

Fines,  5,  26,  30,  33,  63  n,  96,  111-115, 

167,  176 

Flotsam  and  jetsam,  93,  94  n 
Foreshore,  119,  158 
Forest  charter,  20  n 

eyres,  16 

Serjeants,  21 
Forestalling,  49 
Franchises,  royal,  3,  90,  91 
Freeman-silver,  34,  63  n 
Fulcenale,  27 

GHOST,  Moreton's,  148-9 
Grand  inquest,  58 

serjeant,  17,  20,  21,  31 
Gives  tv  a,  19  n 

HEIR-AT-LAW,  153,  156,  157 

High  bailiff,  109 

Hue  and  cry,  49-51 

Hundred,  origin  and  meaning,  2-3 

liabilities,  49-51 

officers,  4,  22,  29,  161 

meeting-place,  2,  8 

man,  4,  9 
Hundred  Court — 

abolition,  129-132 

abuses,    24,    29,    84-89,    96,    101, 

costs,  72,  84,  101,  119 

decline,  4  n,  7,  28,  47,  61,  84,  96 

in  A.-S.  times,  3 

in  nineteenth  century,  84 

jurisdiction,  4,    5,    17,    31,  82,  98, 
loo,  109,  no 

Hundred  Court  (continued) — 

limit  of  jurisdiction,  4,  7,  84,  100, 

101  n,  120 
origin,  2 
profits,   3,  4,  6,  22,  30-33,  36,  70, 

102,  131 
sale,  10,  89-92,  106,  107,  157,  174, 

sittings,  6,  8,  10,  104,  109,  112,  118, 

119,  120,  125,  127 
specimens  of  cases,  120 


JUDGERS,  5,  14,  15,  63  n,  167,  171 

Jurisdiction  (see  Hundred  Court) 

Jury,  6,  48,  54,  58,  61,  78,  85,95,  112, 

114,  118,  127  (see  Judgers) 
Justices,  itinerant,  57 

of  peace,  7,  17,  28,  47,  61,  70,  180, 
182,  185,  193,  200 

LAGAN,  94  n 

Law  days,  180,  182,  185,  192,  200 

Leases  (enrolled),  175  et  seq. 

Leet,  46,  60,  78,  81,  109,  180,  182,  185, 

192,  200 

Liberties,  45,  95,  194 
Lords  of  Hundred,  list  of,  161 
Lordship  of  Hundred,  3 

MANOR-HOUSE,  122,  124,  147,  149,  151, 

153.  156 
Manors,  list  of  lords  of,  137  n 



Market,  Clerk  of,  70,  180,  182,  185,  193, 


Master-mason,  57 
Monasteries,  dissolution  of,  68 

NEXT-OF-KIN,  153,  156 
Notices  to  tenants,  147,  153 

OFFICERS,  list  of,  161 

Outlaws,  43,  48,  1 80,  182,  185,  192,  200 

PALATINE  franchises,  67 

privileges,  47 
Pardon,  form  of,  62 
Pelf,  31,34,38,  163,  176  n 
Pillory,  30,  118 

Pipe,  clerk  of,  74,  187,  189,  191,  195,  197 
Presentment,  5,  18,  23,  40,  117,  176 
Prison  suit,  34~36,  38,  56>  63  «,  l63,  l66> 


Proclamations,  15 
Future,  18,  19,  26,  27,  33,  163,  175 

QUARTER  Sessions,  7,  28,  58,  61 

RAILWAY,  seizure  of,  116 
Reeve,  4,  117,  131,  132 
Regrating,  49 

Reliefs,  30,  180,  182,  185,  192,  200 
Rents,  37,  64,  66,  72  (see  App.  I.) 
Rental  of  profits,  75,  184,  186,  193 
Replevin,  1001 

Requests,  Courts  of,  85,  103-4 

Riot  damage,  50 

Royal  fish,  91,  94,  95,  158,  200 

SCOTALE,  27  n 
Securitas  pads,  63  n 
Serjeants  of  chamber,  26 

peace,  17-21,  23,  38,  163,  176 
Sheriffs  accounts,  22,  37,  68,  175 

Act,  1887,  6 1  » 

Aid,  63  n 

Tourn,  4,  6,  28,  30,  60,  61,  63  «,  64, 

178,  180,  182,  185,  192,  200 
Shire  Court  (see  County  Court) 
Sothale,  27  n 
Stallage,  32,  38,  163,  176 
Steward,  6,  15,  71,  72,  75,  88,  93  «,  99, 

loo,  104,  109,  no,  131,  132,  183 
Subsidies,  23,  54 
Suete  de prisons  (see  Prison  suit) 
Suit  and   service,   5,  6,   n,  12,  13,  14, 
63  n,  79,  81,  101,  167,  171,  180,  182, 
185,  192,  200 

Summons,  service  of,  26,  27,  34,  176 
Sunday  travelling,  51 
"  Sweeten  and  pinch,"  34  n 

TAXATOR  (see  Affeeror) 

Terra putura:,  \gn 

Thiggyng,  27 

Third  penny,  10 

Tolls,  1 80,  182,  185,  192,  200 

Townships,  3,  9,  78,  81 

Treasure-trove,  5,  63  »,  91,  96,  132,  159, 

Trial  of  John  Williams,  97 

will  case,  154 
Tumbril,  30,  118 



VAGA  (see  Felons'  goods) 
Vendor  of  bark,  &c.,  56 
felons'  goods,  22,  39 
View  of  frankpledge,  4,  29,  30,  78,  80,  8 1, 
180,  182,  185,  192,  200 

WAIFS,  30,  33,  34,  36,  37,  161,  162,  166, 
175,  176,  180,  182,  185,  192,  200  (see 
Felons'  goods) 

Wapentake  (see  Hundred) 

Wapentake  Court  (see  Hundred  Court) 

"  Waping  tax,"  88 

War,  effect  of  civil,  62-64 

IVara,  18 

Warlands,  1 8,  19,  27,  33 

Weaf,  79 

Will  case,  1 38  et  seq. 

Woods  and  forests,  Commissioners  of, 

90,  91,  199,  201 
Wreck,  63  »,  91,  93,  94,94  «,  119, 132-7, 



Edinburgh  6*  London 


DA        Stewart-Brown,  Ronald 

670          The  Wapentake  of  Wirral